Pine County cult leader Victor Barnard sentenced to 30 years in prison

Star Tribune

By Pam Louwagie Star Tribune OCTOBER 28, 2016

PINE CITY, MINN. – Finally facing her abuser in court, Lindsay Tornambe sat at a prosecutor’s table Friday, her voice shaking, and recounted how feared religious leader Victor Barnard had sexually assaulted her starting at age 13, and how it continues to haunt her.

“I felt so alone, because I was,” she said, fighting tears as she described how she didn’t have anyone to turn to in the cloistered River Road Fellowship community Barnard once led in east central Minnesota.

She’s had PTSD, she said. Nightmares. Trust issues. Feelings of abandonment. Suicidal thoughts. Anxiety.

When she found the strength to tell law enforcement about nine years of abuse at Barnard’s hands, prompting authorities to go on a manhunt for him all the way to Brazil, she felt she finally had some power over him, she said.

“I used to see Victor as this powerful and monstrously strong man,” Tornambe said. “I am his downfall. … He cannot break me. … He is the one that is weak. He will be known all over the world as a sexual predator.”

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