Former MN cult leader sentenced to 30 years in prison

The former leader of the River Road Fellowship received the maximum sentence for sexually abusing two women.
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The former leader of a Minnesota cult has been sentenced to 30 years in prison.

Victor Barnard, 55, was the longtime leader of the River Road Fellowship in Finlayson, Minnesota, where he was accused of abusing at least two girls for nearly a decade starting when they were just 12 and 13 years old.

The women came forward in 2012, which led to an international manhunt where Barnard was found and extradited from Brazil, WCCO said.

Earlier this month, he pleaded guilty to two charges of first-degree criminal sexual conduct in Pine County District Court.

Although Barnard had beed charged with 59 counts of sexual abuse, most of the charges were dismissed in a plea deal, which both of his victims agreed to.

He received the maximum sentence in court on Friday, and will begin his sentence at the Minnesota Correctional Facility in St. Cloud, MPR reported.

Barnard's defense attorney, Marsh Halberg, said that he could get out 17 to 18 years earlier by complying with conditions, which include sex counseling, NY Mag said.

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