ALERT! WSP Still Looks For Man Charged With 59 Counts Of Sexual - Spokane, North Idaho News & Weather KHQ.com

ALERT! WSP Still Looks For Man Charged With 59 Counts Of Sexual Misconduct With Children

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SPOKANE, Wash. - Detectives in Minnesota believe a former cult leader who they say sexually abused young girls is now living in the Spokane Area and WSP is asking that you share any information you have that may lead to his arrest.

52-year-old Victor A. Barnard, was charged Tuesday with 59 counts of criminal sexual misconduct after Pine County Minnesota detectives say he abused at least two girls. In 2012, Barnard was the leader of a "fringe group" detectives say that had a cult religious following. The group was called the River Road Fellowship and operated discretely in northern Minnesota for several years. According to court documents Barnard would teach them that he "represented Jesus Christ" and that "it was normal for Barnard to have sex with" the young girls because "it was in God's word."

Detectives say Barnard had a small group of young girls who were very close to him, typically the children of his older followers. Court documents say he called the young girls "Maiden Group" and told them they needed to give themselves to God, meaning sex with Barnard. Detectives say Barnard is a master manipulator who is even protected by his followers.

Pine County Chief Deputy Steven Blackwell tells KHQ's Dylan Wohlenhaus that they believe Barnard is now living in the Spokane area and "gathering" similar types of followers again. Blackwell says last year the Pine County Sheriff's Department sent a detective to Spokane to interview some of Barnard's "followers," but none would give up his location. Detectives with the Washington State Patrol say they are working with Pine County to locate Barnard.

Anyone who may have information as to the whereabouts of Victor Barnard, please call WSP Detective Ryan Spangler at (509) 227-6644 or the Pine County SO tip line at (320) 629-8342.
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