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Rive Road Fellowship

 Minnesota cult leader Victor Barnard sentenced to 30 years

“On Friday, two rapesurvivors ended Minnesota cult leader VictorBarnard’s reign. The 55-year-oldwas sentenced to 30 years in prison for sexually assaulting two women foryears. Barnard was the leader of the River RoadFellowship, an offshootChristian sect he founded and transformed into a cult. The two women whoultimately filed 59 counts of sexual assault against Barnard were the youngestof ten first-born daughters, ages 12 to 24, whom Barnard selected to be thegroup’s ‘Ten Maidens,’ in 2000. As chaste, exemplar virgins, the girls livedapart from their families at Barnard’s private camp, where he secretly rapedthem for a decade. Barnard pleaded guilty earlier this month on two counts offelony sexual assault and agreed to 30 years in a plea deal. The finalsentencing hearing on Friday ended four months of U.S. court proceedings,following Barnard’s capture in Brazil, and allowed the two survivors to readstatements describing the impact Barnard’s crimes had on their lives. …Defenseattorney Marsh Halberg, who represented Barnard with Dave Risk, said that ifBarnard complies with conditions, which include sex counseling, he could serveonly two-thirds of the sentence—about 17 to 18 years. ‘He really did want tospare everybody—the victims, the church, the community,’ Halberg said,acknowledging that other people considered Barnard’s decision to not enter a trialas martyrdom. ‘I appreciate that they don’t see it that way. He didn’t want toput people through it.’ Pine County attorney Reese Frederickson said heshortened his own argument to let the women’s powerful statements speak forthemselves. ‘The sentencing brings closure for the victims and the community,’he said. ‘Justice was served.’” (New YorkMagazine, 10/28/16) [IT 8.1]

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