UPDATE:: ‘Maidens’ cult leader booked into Pine County Jail
Former Minnesota fugitive Victor Barnard, a religious leader who fled to Brazil to avoid charges of sexually abusing young girls, was booked Saturday afternoon into the Pine County Jail.
Barnard, 54, faces multiple felony charges alleging criminal sexual conduct, including sexual contact with minors under age 13.
Barnard became the subject of an international manhunt and landed on the U.S. Marshals Service’s “Most Wanted” list after being charged with 59 counts of criminal sexual conduct in April 2014. Prosecutors allege he chose 10 girls and young women from his River Road Fellowship to live apart from their families in a “Maidens Group” and housed them in a camp near Finlayson, 90 miles north of the Twin Cities.
Authorities in Washington say they have received a "credible tip" as to the location of Victor Barnard, the leader of a cult-like religious sect who is accused of sexually abusing at least two girls.
According to the Washington State Patrol, Barnard, 52, was spotted at a McDonald's restaurant in Raymond on Wednesday. He left with an unidentified female, in a dark blue Audi two door, with tinted windows and a spoiler, police said.
"Additional information was developed that places Barnard in the Raymond and Aberdeen areas for approximately the previous week," the state patrol said in a Wednesday press release.
Court documents provided to The Huffington Post show Barnard is facing 59 counts of criminal sexual conduct related to two young women, who claim he abused them for nearly a decade at the church he led.
The two victims, the criminal complaint alleges, were among several girls who lived at the River Road Fellowship compound in Finlayson, Minnesota, which is located about 90 miles north of Minneapolis.
According to police, the congregation is an offshoot of The Way International, a nondenominational Christian group.
Victor Barnard, Fugitive Minnesota Cult Leader, Spotted In Washington