A cult leader accused of sex crimes is back in MN to face charges


An accused cult leader is back in Minnesota after spending more than a year in a Brazilian prison.

Victor Barnard, 54, was booked into Pine County Jail Saturday afternoon. He faces up to 59 charges of criminal sexual conduct.

Barnard's attorney said the the 54-year-old requested to be sent back to the the U.S., the Star Tribune reports.

And Pine County officials announced in March that he'd be extradited to Minnesota to face charges.

County leaders say Barnard ruled over a camp of young girls he called “maidens” at The River Road Fellowship near Finlayson, Minnesota. He's accused of abusing the girls starting in 2000, when they were just 12 and 13 years old.

Then in April 2014, a nationwide warrant was issued for his arrest. It wasn't long before he was placed on the U.S. Marshals Service list of 15 Most Wanted fugitives.

Officials thought he fled Minnesota for Washington state after some followers questioned his conduct with young women, but that’s where the trail grew cold.

Barnard was eventually arrested in Brazil in February of last year. He'd been behind bars there ever since.

The Pine County Attorney tells KSTP he could spend the rest of his life in prison if convicted.

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