Core tip:Infamous Cult leader Victor Barnard has been extradited from Brazil and was booked into the Pine County jail. Catie L'Heureux who is the columnist for the NYmag worte an article to demystify lascivious devil Barnard，reports NYmag magazine.
It is hard to imagine anyone could rape and brainwash so many people and get away with it for so long, but Victor Barnard did. Cult leader bewitched 150 people he was like God. The believers followed him to live on an isolated campground, and coerced the parents in the group into letting him rape their oldest daughters（his “maidens”）for years，all under the guise of Jesus Christ.
Barnard, now 54, who led the River Road Fellowship near Finlayson, Minn., faces 59 counts of first- and third-degree criminal sexual conduct. He is accused of raping girls and young women from his isolated congregation, sparking an international manhunt and landing him on the U.S. Marshals Service’s Most Wanted List.
The judge set bail at $1.5 million. Prosecutors said Barnard’s followers are now liquidating their assets to pay for his release.
How did this happen? Here, the horrifying story of Barnard’s cult
Before setting up his own church, Barnard was first a member of the Way International, a nondenominational Christian sect known for encouraging followers to interpret the Bible on their own terms. With tens of thousands of followers in 35 countries, the group fell apart in the mid-1980s. Its founder and his successor were both accused of brainwashing and having sex with female followers.
Barnard formed relations with the Way International and founded River Road Fellowship in the early 1990s, promising it would be different. Barnard purchased an 85-acre camp outside of Finlayson in 1996, set up a so-called "shepherd's camp". Barnard convinced families to sell their homes and move there.
Shepherd’s Camp was an isolated place and self-sustaining community. Families lived in century-old cabins and newer buildings along a dirt road 5 miles southwest of town. Residents planted gardens, then canned vegetables. They raised cows, sheep and chickens. They sewed clothes. There was no internet, no cellphones.
Barnard had own cabin, slept with the men’s wives, and dressed like Jesus in billowy robes while carrying a staff. he drove an Escalade and a Cadillac, and took children on trips in a chrome-finished tour bus. Rather than hosting church services in one sanctuary, members worshipped in small groups at home; when Barnard stopped by for such occasions, it was like a visit from the pope.
The Ten Maidens
In 2000, Barnard created a group called "Maidens" of about 10 girls, ages 12 to 24, who were sent to live with him. Parents considered it an honor, and members saw them as nuns. "Maidens" participated in a ceremony Barnard called the "Salt Covenant" where girls pledged "to remain unmarried and virgins and loyal to Barnard for their entire lives."
The Ten Maidens
In 2012, two women contacted the Pine County Sheriff's Office to report that they had been sexually abused by Barnard between the ages of 12-24. Barnard lived in the camp’s “lodge” and would call for one girl or another “when he wanted to have sexual intercourse with her, One woman remembered a kitchen calendar noting appointments for each girl, though no one said a word to one another about the abuse.
Abused girl Jess Schweiss
The day after Barnard first touched her sexually, Schweiss said Barnard sent her a card: “To my beloved … I thank God for you as I remember your tears and love and believing. I have you in my heart, and I’m so glad to be waiting and watching and longing together for our beloved lord Jesus Christ. Kept by His love together with you, Victor.” He compared their relationship to Jesus and Mary Magdalene, or King Solomon’s affairs with concubines, and promised “he represented Christ in the flesh.”
Abused girl Lindsay Tornambe
Lindsay Tornambe was 13 when her parents dropped her off for what she thought would be summer camp. Instead it became a new life. Within about a month, Tornambe said, Barnard called her to his lodge and asked her about masturbation, she said. She didn’t know what that meant, and when she seemed confused, he grew angry, hitting her. Later that night he raped her. It happened again and again, up to five times a month: If she wasn’t acting spiritual it would be less frequent, she said; if she was deep into the faith, he would “reward” her. Tornambe said she remembers being instructed to use a female contraceptive early on with Barnard. That ended, she said, after Barnard went in for surgery. He explained that he could no longer produce children, she remembers.
Barnard & Lindsay
Her parents lived about five miles away, but she rarely saw them. Barnard met with Tornambe’s parents at one point and told them he may or may not have sex with her, she recalls, even though he had already repeatedly raped her. “He told me it was his way of being able to show me God’s love.”
In an interview with the Daily Beast ,Steve Blackwell , the former deputy police chief of Pine County said his office collected on Victor Barnard, he said there were interviews with the leader’s alleged sex victims in which they said he would tell them “I am the Messiah” so he could violate them. “He said, ‘I’m the Holy Spirit and therefore it’s not rape. And you’re still a virgin, so it’s not sex’. At some point, Barnard formed a second group of young women called the Auriga’s Band.
The Pine County Sheriff’s Office first heard complaints about Barnard in 2008, when congregants reported that Barnard was sleeping with married women. But County Attorney John Carlson declined to press charges. In a letter explaining why, prosecutors said that “the sad truth is, these individuals admit they were essentially ‘brainwashed’ by Barnard and readily and willingly did what he wanted them to do.” Reports of child sexual abuse were deemed “merely suspicion.” The confrontation prompted Barnard to sell Shepard’s Camp and move dozens of followers to Washington State, in 2009, amid rumors of his sexual exploits and bankruptcy.
Barnard and his wife established a nutrition company, and his wife registered Waymarks, a publishing company they’d also had in Minnesota. Several of the maidens opened a cleaning company in Cheney, while members of Auriga’s Band founded one in Bellingham.
In 2012, after enduring years of abuse, brave former sect members alerted authorities to the girls' plight. approached by an investigator, one mother reportedly “did not want to hear it.” Barnard was on most-wanted list of U.S. Marshals Service with a $25,000 reward for his arrest, following charges brought against him in 2014. He was on the run for over a year, Authorities located him by tracking followers’ travels to Brazil, In February 2015, Barnard was captured in an apartment near paradisiacal white-sand Pipa Beach in northeastern Brazil, along with a 33-year-old Brazilian woman, who was former maiden from a wealthy Brazilian family.
The Court Case
In November 2015, Brazil media reported that Barnard tried to hang himself in a suicide attempt while in a federal prison in Brazil. This March, Brazil’s highest court, the Supremo Tribunal Federal, approved the extradition of Barnard to Minnesota. Brazil's Supreme Court said they would only release Barnard to US custody if it is agreed that his sentence, if convicted of the charges in Minnesota, would not exceed 30 years in prison.
“To know that they actually care, that people actually do care about what happened means so much,” one of the survivors once told Minnesota’s Star Tribune. “I definitely don’t want Victor hurting anyone else.” Barnard will appear again in court on July 5.
Barnard was affiliated in the 1980s with Dr. Victor Wierwille, the founder of The Way International, which was accused of promoting inappropriate sexual relationships with female congregants.Followers of Barnard said that his own sect, Shepherd’s Camp, went beyond The Way International, with Barnard using excerpts from The Bible to justify his own sexual deviancy.
Original soure: http://nymag.com/thecut/2016/06/pine-county-minnesota-sex-offender-victor-barnard.html