Authorities called a nationwide search Tuesday for a self-proclaimed minister accused of 59 counts of sexual abuse of at least two girls in his “Maiden’s Group” at his religious compound in rural Minnesota.
Victor Barnard, 52, is accused of the repeated raping of two young girls over a span of nearly ten years, beginning when one was 12 years old and the other 13. Chief Deputy Steve Blackwell of Minnesota’s Pine County Sheriff’s Office believes that although two women made the assertions, Barnard may have possibly committed similar sexual acts against other minor girls.
One of the women referred to only as “B” in court documents, said her family joined the “River Road Fellowship” in 2000 and less than a year later in 2001 she was being “vaginally penetrated” by Barnard. The young lady’s father who confirmed to authorities that Victor Barnard approached them and told them that he would be having sex with their daughter also backs the allegation. “B’s” father told police that he “felt pressured to not say anything against Barnard and that he knew the “minister” had sex with his daughter when she was still a child…”
According to CBS News, “B” told police that she did not want to have sex with Barnard and that she protested and cried, but that over the next nine years, she estimated he had intercourse with her several times per month.
“Barnard would call her to the lodge when he wanted to have sexual intercourse with her….She said the other girls…were also called to the lodge to see Barnard in the same manner that she was but they never discussed what happened there. Barnard had told her many times not to tell anyone about having sex with him…”
Another woman known only as “C” also reported similar incidents to authorities, and said she was a part of Barnard’s “Maidens Group” and began having sex with him at the age of 12.
According to authorities in Minnesota, when Barnard and his followers at River Road Fellowship caught wind of the allegations the group sold their property in Minnesota and fled for Spokane, Washington.
Washington state’s fugitive task force and the U.S. Department of Homeland Security have begun their search for the group’s leader in Washington state, but as reported in The Spokesman-Review, people associated with the group have been uncooperative, Blackwell said.
The minster has been able to seduce young girls in his Maiden’s Group into sleeping with him by assuring their virginity by telling them that he was “a man of God” and that it was “God’s Word” for them to engage in sexual activity.
[Photo Credit: Bing]