Manhunt begins for MN minister accused of 59 counts of molesting girls

Manhunt begins for MN minister accused of 59 counts of molesting girls
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POSTED: Thursday, April 17, 2014 - 1:04pm

UPDATED: Thursday, June 26, 2014 - 11:44pm

Preacher accused of 59 counts of molesting girls in Minnesota

Authorities nationwide are searching for a Minnesota minister accused of 59 felony counts of criminal sexual conduct with two young girls while they were members of his church.

Victor Barnard, 52, was last seen in Spokane, Washington, according to a written statement from the Washington State Patrol.

On April 11, prosecutors in Pine County, Minnesota, issued a criminal complaint after a two-year investigation into allegations from two women about Barnard's alleged conduct while he was preaching to a religious group in Finlayson, Minnesota.

Lindsay Tornambe is one of the two women, who are referred to as "B" and "C" in the complaint. Now 27, she lives in Bethesda, Maryland. She wants Barnard to go to prison.

"I definitely don't want him hurting anyone else and ruining other people's lives like mine was," she told CNN.

The complaint says Tornambe alleges that she was sexually abused by Barnard from the ages of 13 to 22 while she and her parents were members of the River Road Fellowship. Tornambe told investigators that Barnard created a group of 10 young girls and women who were known as Alamoths, or maidens. Her group was sent to what she thought was a summer camp, the document says.

Tornambe alleges that Barnard first molested her after he preached to her that he represented Jesus Christ in the flesh. She told investigators that she estimated that Barnard sexually assaulted her one to three times a month until she left in 2010 to be with her parents, who had moved to Pennsylvania.

In fall 2011, she was contacted by another former maiden who shared a similar story; she said she was molested by Barnard from the time she was 12 until she was 20, although she said the number of sexual acts varied each month.

Tornambe and the other woman went to the police in Minnesota. Barnard had moved to Washington state after an admission to affairs with married women caused the religious group to split, the complaint says.

Both women said Barnard sometimes became upset with them and was violent. They also said their parents were called to a meeting -- after Barnard allegedly had begun to rape them -- where he told the parents he might have sex with them.

Tornambe's father told investigators that he knew what Barnard was telling them was wrong, but there was pressure to not be exiled from the church and "lose everything he had."

The ministry operated in a secluded area of Pine County from about 2000 until 2011 or 2012, said Chief Deputy Steven Blackwell of the County Sheriff's Office. The fellowship vacated the property shortly after a new sheriff was elected and began investigating the ministry, Blackwell said. The Salvation Army now runs a family camp there, he said.

In the complaint, an investigating officer with the Washington State Patrol said he spoke with an elder in the church who had two daughters who were maidens. That elder denied that a group had ever been separated from their parents.

CNN attempted to reach the man Wednesday night, as well as a man described in the complaint as Barnard's right-hand man, but was unsuccessful.

Lt. Shane Nelson, a criminal investigations officer for the Washington State Patrol, said officers were unable to find Barnard and it was possible he had fled the area. There are no charges against Barnard in Washington, Nelson said.

CNN's Matthew Stucker and Michael Martinez contributed to this report.

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Comments News Comments

Put him prison and trough away the key.

This really makes me sad. I am a christian and thisman will be dealt with by God. God clearly states DO NOT HARM MY CHILDREN!!!!!! I hope they catch this animal and lock him up. I will say this again Our Father I AM will punish this individual and all other individuals who harm little children

The way I see it is if these parents knew what he was doing they are guilty too !!

One more sicko hiding behind Our Lord it is not new the enemy started in the garden and has not let up sence!

Too many of these rogue "Christians." Everyone in a position of ministry should be accountable to a superior. Too many of these groups just pop up and are run by one man accountable to nobody else. Even the apostles answered to the council of the first church in Jerusalem. If a person who claims to be a minister of the gospel, check with whoever is over him, and whoever is over that person, etc. It's Biblical to have accountability and supervision.

I posted this on my facebook & family members from Pendleton,Ore have sworn this guy is working & living in Pendleton at a Oil changing business near Main St.

For false messiahs and false prophets will appear and perform great signs and wonders to deceive, if possible, even the elect. Matthew 24:24

I like this bible verse, but it doesn't apply to Barnard because he did not perform great signs and wonder. Instead he performed evil acts upon children. Either way I pray he is found dead. Remove this filth from the planet. He has eternity in hell to pay for this.

AT 12 & 13 I can see this happening but I will never understand why the girls allowed it to go on to 20 & 22. If this actually happened as reported the parents are as guilty as the imitation preacher.

That's easier said than done! Unless you've been in these girls spot , noone will understand why they didn't say anything sooner. But i have been in this spot and understand all to well why nothing was said. As a girl girl the guys threatening you, tell ya all kinds of crap so that you a more scared to say anything than not. Maybe everyone should watch the Movie '' What about Emily". Thank you will have more of an understanding as to why girls don't say anything.

I agree ..I don't understand why this man wasn't reported and punished long before the girls were in their 20's??

seems like a child molester gets less time in prison than a robber! What the heck is happening to this World! May God be with these young ladies and all the others dealing with this! I'm so sad!

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