Victor Barnard sentenced to 30 years

Former cult leader sentenced

PINE CITY, Minn. - A religious sect leader who was charged with sexually abusing girls at his secluded compound has been sentenced to 30 years. 

Victor Barnard, 55, was stoic as his official sentence was announced. 

He told the court he is asking God to heal him. 

"God is good, his word is faithful ... and I have not walked in his goodness," Barnard said, after his sentencing. 

Earlier this month, he pleaded guilty to two counts of first-degree criminal sexual conduct and under terms of that deal, agreed to serve 30 years. He will get credit for roughly two years that he's already served.

Barnard had been charged in 2014 with 59 counts of criminal sexual conduct for allegedly having sexual relationships with two girls he had inducted into his "Maidens Group" at the secluded compound in rural Minnesota. Barnard was the leader of the River Road Fellowship near Finlayson, Minn. 

Barnard's two victims made impact statements on Friday, calling Barnard a coward and opening up about the struggles they've had since suffering at the hands of his abuse. 

Both said they suffer from PTSD. 

Barnard had been under investigation since 2012 when the victims came forward and told authorities he sexually abused them when they were as young as 12 years old. 


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