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Wis. religious leader: No contest in corpse case

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MAUSTON, Wis. (AP) -- A religious leader pleaded no contest Thursday to charges that he stashed a rotting corpse for two months in a follower's bathroom.

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Alan Bushey was charged last year with hiding a corpse, causing mental harm to a child and theft. Investigators said the body of a 90-year-old member of his religious group was concealed at another group member's home in a scheme to collect the dead woman's Social Security checks.

Juneau County District Attorney Scott Southworth agreed to drop the mental harm and theft counts in exchange for Bushey's plea, according to online court records.

Bushey, 58, of Necedah, faces up to 10 years in prison and $25,000 in fines. His sentencing is set for May 5.

His attorney, Thomas Steinman, didn't immediately return a telephone message left at his office Thursday. Southworth's office declined to comment.

Prosecutors accused Bushey and follower Tammy Lewis of leaving 90-year-old Magdeline Middlesworth's body on a toilet in Lewis' home after she died there in March.

A criminal complaint said Bushey led the Order of the Divine Will sect and told Lewis that God would revive Middlesworth. The decaying body was found in May after Middlesworth's family expressed concern.

Lewis pleaded no contest in November to obstructing a police officer and was fined $350.

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