Tips pouring in on minister accused of abusing girls

SPOKANE, Wash. - The Washington State Patrol says investigators have acted on 20 or 30 tips this week as they check locations in the Spokane-area in their search for a self-professed minister accused of sexually abusing at least two girls in rural Minnesota.

Lt. Shane Nelson tells The Spokesman-Review they're also contacting known associates of Victor Arden Barnard. Nelson told KARE 11 that the tips have been mostly of possible sightings, mostly around the Spokane area. None of the tips have shown to be beneficial at this time.

The investigation began in Minnesota but the 52-year-old was last known to be in the Spokane area. He's facing 59 counts of criminal sexual conduct related to two young women who said they were abused for nearly a decade.

More charges involving more juvenile girls could be filed.

In 2000, Barnard set up what he called the "Shepherd's Camp" on land where girls and young women between the ages of 12 and 24 lived as part of his "Maidens Group."


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