Authorities in Minnesota have launched a manhunt for a minister who is facing 59 counts of first-degree sexual assault in cases against girls — called “Maidens” — as young as 13.
The Star Tribune reported that authorities announced on Tuesday that the two women who had come forward with allegations against 59-year-old Victor Barnard, the former minister of a cult-like faith community in central Minnesota, were not the only girls raped by the religious leader.
In a phone interview with the paper, one of the women, Lindsay Tornambe, confirmed the details of charges that were filed in court documents by prosecutors.
Tornambe, now 27, said that she met Barnard at the age of 9 as a part of her parents’ home schooling. At age 11, her family joined the “Shepherd’s Camp.” And then, Barnard chose her to be “sacrificed to God” by raping her at age 13 in 2000.
The rapes continued over the course of nine years.
“If I wasn’t being spiritual or following his orders, he wouldn’t have sex with us,” she recalled. “If we were doing well, it was almost like he rewarded us.”
In the charging documents, the second victim explained how Barnard compared their relationship to Jesus and Mary Magdalene. And he spoke of the concubines of King Solomon. He allegedly told the girls that sex with him was normal because of “God’s word.”