The year-long manhunt for Victor Barnard, an American pastor charged with 59 counts of sexual assault, is over. Barnard, who was on the U.S. Marshals Service’s Most Wanted List, was arrested in a beach town in Brazil on Friday. I previously wrote about him here.
From the Minneapolis Star Tribune:
The arrest took place in a condominium by Pipa Beach, considered one of Brazil’s most beautiful coastal locations. Barnard was reportedly staying with a 33-year-old Brazilian woman who previously lived in the United States. Federal police confiscated religious papers, diaries, computers, flash drives and cellphones from the condo.
The 53-year-old suspect was wanted by the Pine County, Minnesota, Sheriff’s Office for allegedly sexually abusing two young girls who were members of his church, the U.S Marshals Service said. … [P]rosecutors in Pine County, Minnesota, issued a criminal complaint that accused him of 59 felony counts of criminal sexual conduct. The manhunt began 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.
As a pastor, Victor Barnard inspired his congregants with his charisma and apparent devotion to the teachings of Jesus Christ. “I had never met anybody that I thought loved the word of God as much as Victor Barnard did,” [said] Ruth Johnson, a former member of Barnard’s River Road Fellowship.