Authorities searching for minister accused of sex crimes
SPOKANE, Wash. (CNN) – 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.
The Washington State Patrol says Victor Barnard, 52, was last seen in Spokane, Washington.
According to CNN, 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.
One of the women, Lindsay Tornambe, 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.
Tornambe claims 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.
Investigators say Tornambe told them that Barnard created a group of 10 young girls and women who were known as Alamoths, or maidens.
CNN reports Tornambe told investigators 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.
The two went to the police in Minnesota.
Reports say Barnard moved to Washington state after an admission to affairs with married women cause the religious group to split.
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, in which 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.”
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.
Nelson also added there are no charges against Barnard in Washington.
However, Dan Coon, a spokesman for Washington State Police, said that a detective is working with the Pine County Sheriff’s Office in their search for Barnard.