Manhunt ends with cult leader’s arrest

Manhunt ends with cult leader’s arrest

Victor Arden Barnard, 53, above, a Minnesota cult leader who had been the subject of a year-long global manhunt, was arrested on Saturday in a beach town in Brazil.

Barnard, according to this report, was wanted on 59 counts of sexual assault on girls and young women in the isolated religious community he founded in Pine County. The US Marshals Service coordinated with Brazilian military and law enforcement officials, who then nabbed him.

The arrest took place in a condominium at Pipa Beach, considered one of Brazil’s most beautiful coastal locations. Barnard was reportedly staying with a 33-year-old Brazilian woman who previously lived in the US. Federal police confiscated religious papers, diaries, computers, flash drives and cellphones from the condo.

Two young women have told Minnesota investigators that Barnard raped them after they were chosen, at ages 12 and 13, to be separated from their families and live near him as part of a cloistered group he called his “maidens” in the River Road Fellowship near Finlayson.

One of the women who stepped forward to report Barnard was Lindsay Tornambe, who was 13 when Barnard informed her parents that he had chosen her to join the maidens. She told Pine County sheriff’s investigators that Barnard raped her soon afterward, and that the abuse continued for the next nine years.

Barnard used the charismatic hold he kept over his followers to sexually exploit girls and young women at his whim, according to court papers that spell out the crimes alleged by the two young women who stepped forward to report being abused.

Barnard, facing bankruptcy and law enforcement scrutiny, had moved his family and his remaining followers to Washington state years before Pine County brought the charges in 2014. He has been the target of a national and international manhunt ever since.

Said Cindi Currie, who visited the River Road Fellowship at the invitation of Lindsay Tornambe’s mother:

I cannot wait to see that man behind bars.

She was so alarmed by what she saw, she tried to persuade the family to leave.

That man is the devil incarnate.

Years after her visit, Currie learned that her friend’s daughter had been chosen to join the maidens. Now, Currie said:

The day of reckoning has come. Not only will Victor Barnard go to jail, but every adult who knew what was going on up there can start to pay, and maybe these girls can start to heal.

Barnard’s capture brought both relief and heartbreak to Ruth Johnson, who spent more than a decade in the River Road Fellowship. She and her husband left the group after the allegations against Barnard surfaced. They left behind relatives who “refuse to see what he’s done.”

Hat tip: Denis Watkins

11 responses to “Manhunt ends with cult leader’s arrest”

  1. Marky Mark says:

    “Two young women have told Minnesota investigators that Barnard raped them after they were chosen, at ages 12 and 13, to be separated from their families and live near him as part of a cloistered group he called his “maidens” in the River Road Fellowship near Finlayson.”

    …says it all, go ahead people and give your children to the godly to do as they wish.

    Christopher Hitchens: “No child left behind = no child’s behind left (un-raped)

  2. sailor1031 says:

    Surely these parents knew what was going on and what would happen to their daughters. Are there to be criminal charges against them? Will they be prosecuted for abandoning their parental duty to protect their children and for reckless child endangerment or even sex trafficking of underage girls? It needs to happen.

  3. Angela_K says:

    Religious cults all have something in common: sex. Either sex is only between a man and woman for procreation regardless if the woman consents or sex is for abusing children.

  4. Broga says:

    He was wanted on 59 counts of sexual assault. That is what is known. How many others are there? How many lives damaged and wrecked? Despite all the publicity of the dangers of entrusting children to the religious parents still hand them over.

    The cover of religion protects against so much and leads to the opposite of the sensible conclusion. The sensible conclusion is that these men are potentially dangerous and must be regarded with suspicion. The opposite is that they are people of faith so they must be good.

  5. Trevor Blake says:

    Jewish and Christian readers are outraged. Outraged because what this man did and what their hero Moses did is similar. Except this man did not have people killed, he only raped children.

    “And Moses said unto them, Have ye saved all the women alive? … Now therefore kill every male among the little ones, and kill every woman that hath known man by lying with him. But all the women children, that have not known a man by lying with him, keep alive for yourselves.” – Numbers 31:15-18

  6. CharlyO says:

    And we consider ourselves to be thinking animals?? #$%$*(#@!

  7. Sean says:

    Child abuse should be a capital crime but fundies fight it.

  8. AgentCormac says:

    Completely OT, but I just read that the revolting Westboro Baptists were intending to picket the funeral of Leonard Nimoy, which is why details of where and when the service was to be held were not made public, which ultimately and thankfully foiled their plans. Quite why these totally retarded, brain-dead hate-mongering bastards would want to protest at any funeral is way, way beyond my comprehension, but I can only think that because Nimoy’s character was famous for using logic this would be a concept they could neither understand nor forgive.

    Democracy is something I would defend to the last drop of everything I have. However, democracy sadly means putting up with c***s like these and allowing them to spout their bile.

    Live long and prosper, unless you are of course a WB.

  9. Broga says:

    @AgentCormac: These nutters are so weird and unbalanced that it would be out of character for them not to picket the funeral. No respect or concern for the agonies of the bereaved, of course. They really are the dregs.

  10. Cali Ron says:

    I’m surprised more pedophiles haven’t gone into the ministry, it’s the perfect cover. No one suspects you until it’s obvious and then they usually won’t report you because your a “man of god”. And if your RCC the church will spend millions covering it up for you and paying the legal costs. Wait a minute, maybe most of them already have. Hmmmmmmmmm!

    New business idea-making chastity belts for children who attend religious schools and training. I already have some ad ideas: Cock Blocker-A win-win for christians. When god doesn’t stop the priest Cock Blocker is there, keeping your child’s virginity and the priest’s honor intact. Order today, don’t delay. Peace of mind is just a phone call away.

  11. EJ says:

    The Sean post above was me being a sockpuppet, just so everyone knows, eh?
    Yes, my grammar was off. I had a problem. Finished now.