tv The Hunt With John Walsh CNN February 22, 2015 8:00pm-9:01pm PST
back in 1981, i had the american dream, the beautiful wife, the house in the suburbs, and a beautiful 6-year-old son. and one day i went to work, kissed my son good-bye, and never saw him again. in two weeks, i became the parent of a murdered child and i'll always be the parent of a murdered child. i still have the heartache. i still have the rage. i waited years for justice. i know what it's like to be there waiting for some answers, and over those years, i learned how to do one thing really well. and that's how to catch these bastards and bring them back to justice. i've become a manhunter. i'm out there looking for bad guys. ♪
>> this is important. i want you to listen. it's no accident that god likens us to sheep. if sheep are left to themselves, they don't take care of themselves. they need a shepherd. jesus said my sheep hear my voice and a stranger will they not follow. they learn to trust the shepherd, and the word says take care of the flock. the lord is my shepherd.
i would say i had never met anybody that i thought loved the word of god as much as victor barnard did. victor was like 6'1," brown hair, kind of feathered back at the time. he was very dignified. i started to look at him as an apostle of jesus christ. >> he was a pastor. he basically took personal care in people, invested into them and tried to bring the best out of you. >> river road was a small home fellowship, i think there was maybe 10 or 15 people. there was a lot of caring and a lot of love at that point. >> it was very much about living solely for the word, you know, not like being a sunday christian, where you just go to
church, hear a little sermon, then you don't think about it all week. it was more like living the word. >> in the winter of 1995-96, they first talked about getting a camp to bring people into the church. >> i think victor just came up with the idea hey, for anybody that wants to move up here, we will try to help facilitate you to move up here, and a lot of people did. i personally was the main pivotal person that worked with the zoning board and the whole process of the finances and the purchasing of the camp. >> the river road fellowship moved into northern pine county and established the shepherd's camp. pine county is situated about an hour north of downtown minneapolis. so it is a very rural county. >> we sold our homes and the
funds went into renovation and things that needed to be rehabbed, and we had one person who had his own construction company, another one did heating and air conditioning and knew some things about electrical. i mean, we knew how to plant a garden and be self-sufficient. >> we really had no contact with the group. they were very quiet, kept to themselves. some of the neighbors would say that when they would have worship day, they could hear the music coming out of the camp. it was always pleasant. >> victor barnard came and visited my parents when i was 9, when we were living in harleysville, pennsylvania. he was traveling the united
states trying to find believers, and we had church in our home ever since i can remember so he gave my parents some of his books and teachings that he had done. >> as the prophets spoke, they spoke of one. >> they started listening to them a lot and they were sending money to victor. >> and to whom is the arm of the lord revealed. >> my parents started making trips out to minnesota. >> in order to fulfill what was spoken, he was brought to nazareth. >> and then victor drew the line that basically we either had to move out to minnesota to join him and the believers out there, or we could no longer fellowship with them. and it was after that that my parents decided to move out to minnesota. i never had really been on dirt roads before.
i was very excited. they had tons of animals, sheep, chickens, rabbits, cows, pigs. in the beginning, it was kind of like summer camp. but i didn't realize at the time how many changes would be made. and how many rules there would be once we moved out there. >> he abused religion to put blinders on people. >> he said that the first-born children were supposed to be sacrificed to god. ameriprise asked people a simple question: can you keep your lifestyle in retirement?
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from them sounded out the word of the lord. they were examples. they believed god's word. >> it started out as a very good thing, where people got together, celebrated their belief in god. there was no indication that anything odd was going on there. ♪ >> victor barnard did a teaching in the chapel to the whole church when i was 13. he said that in the bible, all the first-born children were supposed to be sacrificed to god and he listed off ten girls' names -- >> renee -- i love you. thank god for you. >> it was encouraged that the first-born, if it was a daughter, that she would be in this group called new maidens. basically like virgins unto christ. we kind of looked at them as maybe nuns.
>> lindsey -- thank you, baby. >> i think i was so like shocked, you know? and didn't really know exactly what was going on. >> when they basically became quote, the maidens, all ten of them, i thought it all, especially the younger five, that's what they wanted. it was something they were seeking. >> that's how they were choosing to live their life, being the first-born. >> when you're 12 and 13 years old, there is no mutual consent. i don't believe any of those girls would have had the ability or would have been respected if they said i don't want to be one of the ten maidens. i don't think they had any, any voice in the issue. >> the day my parents dropped me
off was july 23rd, 2000. i thought i was only going there for the summer. they gave me a gift when i left. it was a picture that said they shall weep tears of joy and it was a small bottle they gave me. i remember them being very serious. when i got there, there was no playing for sure. it was a lot of hard work. like each hour of our day was scheduled out. >> victor was part of everything. so they sewed clothing for him, cooked meals for him, kept his house. you know, everything that a wife would do, they did for him. >> he had taken off his wedding ring in front of a bunch of the believers there. his earthly marriage didn't really matter anymore. he didn't live with his wife.
in the bible, the church was the bride of christ, and because he was christ in the flesh, the church was supposed to be married to him. at that time, i didn't really understand the fullness of what it meant. ♪ >> i had been living at the shepherd's camp for a little over a month when victor called me to the lodge. he, you know, asked me how i was liking the summer so far. i told him that it was hard work, but you know, i was doing okay.
and then he proceeded to ask me if i had ever masturbated before. i was only 13. i didn't even know what the word meant. i hadn't had my period yet and for some reason, he thought i was lying to him. he then slapped me across the face and got very angry. he told me that because he was a man of god and he represented christ in the flesh, that it would be spiritual and natural for him to take care of me sexually, and that even though i would have sex with him, i could still remain a virgin.
and i remember him laying a towel down on the bed because he said that i might bleed when he first -- when you first have sex with somebody, you know sometimes the person bleeds and that made me even more scared. but even though i felt that it was wrong, afterwards, i thought because victor said he was a man of god and he brought up those things from the bible, that somehow it was okay or holy. >> he's a manipulator hiding behind god. >> he preached to these young
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when i was 13, i didn't talk about it to anyone. i thought somehow, even if i didn't understand it, that, you know, if it's what god wanted, then i just had to, i don't know, maybe i deserve this. >> these young women, they only knew what he told them. his education was the bible according to victor barnard, and he preached to these young women nonstop. >> here it says their faith was growing what? that tells me something. that means that listen, you don't stop growing in your believing, people. >> victor told me that if i told anyone i would receive damnation from god.
i knew bad things happened to people who didn't obey god. sometimes god killed them or swallowed them with fire. >> he's a manipulator hiding behind god, and people were very entranced and enthralled by this guy, but along the way, there were plenty of warning signs. there were lots of opportunities to intercede and say in my gut, i don't think this is right. >> women were definitely not allowed to go out, even within the property we weren't allowed to just wander around by ourselves. i couldn't go down to the food room by myself. i would basically get yelled at. >> we were never allowed to be alone with another man. we were never allowed to look at another person in the eyes except if it was victor. i had seen him like spit in people's faces before.
i had seen him throw people out of the church. so i was constantly worried that i would make a mistake or mess up. >> see, i had a relationship with him before where i would bring things to him and we would talk things through and so forth, but then it kind of happened very slowly, gradually, where you know, you felt like you had no voice. >> there was a phrase that they used in the ministry and it was called lockbox. you just didn't talk about things that were told to you or that you saw or heard. if somebody told you it was lockbox, you just kept it to yourself. >> i never talked about it with the other girls but then one of the leaders had us read bedside manners and books on different sex positions. it was after that that i realized victor was having sex with all the ten girls.
after dinner, victor would pull one of the girls aside and then that girl would go to the lodge. if he thought i wasn't doing well spiritually, then you know, sometimes he wouldn't have sex with me for like a month or something, but there were times it would be up to five times a month. january of 2001, victor had a meeting with my mom and dad, and i was present at the beginning of the meeting. he told them that at one point, he may decide to have sex with me, which he had already done. he went ahead to explain jesus christ had mary magdalene, that it was spiritual and natural.
>> the instinct, me as a father, unequivocally, i've got to protect my child, my child, my son, my daughter is the number one obligation i have. >> i thought that my mom and dad would see it as not right, too, as i thought it wasn't right. >> but victor barnard is really good at manipulating people, lying to people, and getting parents to go against their natural instincts. he was able to say to parents i'm thinking about having sex with your child and you believe in the rhetoric that i'm trying to shove down your throat that you're going to give me a pass. >> my parents, they didn't do anything to stop him.
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the salt and put it on my tongue. this was to signify us being spiritually married to him. he didn't come out and say it, but i would assume some people had their suspicions that he was having sex with us. >> your love for me is unashamed. you have ministered to me personally in different seasons and situations. oh, my dearly beloved, my longed for, my joy and crown. >> did i have suspicions, yes. it was the way it was done and the look between them that it was more of a look between lovers but it wasn't something you could really, you know, put your finger on and say yes for
sure, because you know, you thought well, i shouldn't be thinking that way, i shouldn't be having these thoughts, they're wrong thoughts, so you know, and leadership wouldn't do things like that. those are the things you think. and that's what keeps you silent. >> nobody wants to accuse someone of sexual abuse. could it be my priest, could it be my minister. anybody that can rape a child, they know how reprehensible their act is and they are counting on you not to have the courage to do something about it. ♪ >> victor was a very close friend of mine. i was married, he was married. i felt that i could trust him. one day, victor wanted to speak with me. we walked down together to his cabin. i had my guitar and we were talking about playing for god
and how to do it with our whole heart. he wanted me to learn to play without any qualms. so he asked me to take my shirt off. he said just play it like i'm not even here. he continued to tell me about doing all things for god, not being so worried about my own appearance. so i did, i took my shirt off and i played a song, you know, and i remember still holding the guitar up and covering myself. then he just kind of got closer to me and closer to me. he started hugging me and then he would kiss me and i'm still trying to kind of play. and then he picked me up and carried me into the bedroom. the last thing he said to me, he
says -- he said dawn, don't worry about it, i've been fixed. i said what? he said don't worry about it, you won't get pregnant, i was fixed. >> she called me one day and she didn't come out and say, you know, we had sex or i slept with him, but it was just something that as women talking together, i picked up on it. i think it was the start of the biggest upset. something gets in there and starts to undermine and you can't keep everybody quiet. >> one afternoon, victor gathered all of the ten maidens together. he told us that he had had an affair with dawn koch and another married woman from the church. he was telling us because he felt rumors would spread and he wanted us to hear it from him.
>> victor told a few men, i was there, that he had got involved with a married lady and i started to see that it wasn't just an isolated situation, that it involved many, which obviously is a problem. my concern, though, was being convinced that now single, you know, that the maidens were involved. >> i started to come out of a fog, so to speak, of how things worked. i was cooking dinner and i lied to my children, i said come on, we need to go down to the food room. there was a very bad storm and i ended up driving like crazy to get away from there. within four or five days, victor had come searching for me. he finally got a number that i agreed to talk to him on the phone and he talked me into coming back.
>> i felt 100% obligated something like this had to be confronted. dear victor, many things have caused me to review and consider our lives together for these past 15 plus years. you on so many occasions yelled, screamed and warned us about not giving our strength unto women but you surrounded yourself with women and gave your strength unto them. if this isn't the height of corruption and deceit, i don't know what is. if you won't confess this, then you leave me with no choice than to start making it known all across the country. >> beginning in 2010, male members came forward with allegations of sexual abuse of their wives by victor barnard acting in his role as a pastor or religious leader. >> thank god somebody was
bothered by the fact that their grown wife was recruited to have sex with this guy or possibly the children would have never been believed. >> he was trying to sleep with every woman in the church. so you don't form a group, they were called his maidens, you know, for what purpose, you know. >> there was a rumor that there was a group of young girls that were these maidens and that something may be going on. but no one was coming forward saying i saw it, i know exactly what happened. we certainly had no victims at that time coming forward saying i'm making the allegation that he sexually abused me. >> about three months later, i got a phone call from the sheriff that basically said
there's nothing we can do about this, you know, just not enough here to warrant doing anything more with it. >> it was very confusing. i didn't know about the internet, cell phones. i just knew i wanted to leave. [engine revving] [engine revving] [engine revving] ♪ introducing the first-ever 306 horsepower lexus rc coupe with available all-wheel drive. once driven, there's no going back. lease the 2015 rc 350 for $449 a month for 36 months. see your lexus dealer.
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in late 2009, i was 22. at that point, david larson had gone to the police. victor had told us that there are people speaking evil of him in the church, and it was time for him to leave minnesota. so basically, he was going into hiding. he took a bunch of the believers with him and they eventually ended up in spokane, washington. some of the believers moved to wisconsin. things started really splitting up. i took the train cross country to pennsylvania. i did not tell anyone anything
that had happened. i just knew that i wanted to start my own life. >> going to the grocery store was really hard for me. i couldn't look at people. i was just really afraid. my daughter was too afraid to even wear pants because she thought god wouldn't love her. >> i didn't have any friends. i had never had a job. didn't go to college. i didn't even know what was in style or like how to shop for clothes. i had never worn makeup before. i didn't even know about the internet, not even cell phones. daily life was extremely overwhelming. >> lots of sexual abuse victims become drug addicts, alcoholics,
they can't have a meaningful relationship. but every now and then with that little bit of freedom away from the controlling, away from the manipulation, one of them breaks through and says i have got to tell somebody until this man pays for it. >> it was the beginning of a new year, so i decided to tell my aunt and uncle what had happened out in minnesota. that victor had sex with me from the time i was 13 until i was 22. so for nine years. they were really shocked. they asked me if i knew what victor had done was a crime, that he had raped me.
it kind of hit me all of a sudden how much of my life had been stolen from me. >> the lord is my shepherd. he makes me to lie down -- >> i finally realized that victor is a monster. he's a rapist. he's definitely not christ in the flesh. he's like the anti-christ. >> you came forward in 2012 and gave a statement. shortly thereafter, a second female came forward.
>> it was huge for me that they had the courage, the guts, the determination to do the right thing which was to come forward. to help get this whole thing exposed and dealt with for what it is. >> i just was told that they were going to grab him and arrest him. >> we believed we had probable cause. unfortunately, at that time, the county attorney chose not to press charges. >> i don't know why they didn't charge victor after i went to the police. i heard that the people who thought the case could be charged didn't have the authority to go ahead and charge it. >> the county attorney requested that we do more follow-up, more statements, added questions, and that we attempt to contact victor barnard and get a statement from him. in the fall of 2012, i sent our
lead investigator out to washington state in an attempt to track down victor barnard. the washington state police set up surveillance on several houses. at some point, suitcases were observed being loaded from one of the houses and then placed into a car. the suitcases were transferred. several times. at some point, our detective approached the vehicle. and attempted to talk with the driver, who refused to cooperate. >> victor did a good job of
brainwashing people into not talk to the authorities, to basically guard him, protect him no matter what. they think they're doing the right thing by not talking about it. >> i think the suitcases were en route to the airport. we didn't have a warrant. there was little that the detective could do. >> we believe victor barnard had fled the state, possibly the country. >> i'm the parent of a murdered child. i have no tolerance for people who wait to intervene in the exploitation of a child. i think the criminal justice system broke down and allowed barnard the time, the wherewithal and the ability to plan a run. >> felt like nobody was really
doing anything about it. they wanted it to just go away. >> they went to the media. that garnered a lot of attention. why do we do it? why do we spend every waking moment, thinking about people? why are we so committed to keeping you connected? why combine performance with a conscience? why innovate for a future without accidents? why do any of it? why do all of it? because if it matters to you, it's everything to us. the xc60 crossover. from volvo. lease the well-equipped volvo xc60 today. visit your local volvo showroom for details. lease the well-equipped volvo xc60 today. behold the beauty of balance.f tomorrow......"lift tab." crisp flakes of fiber-rich bran. answered by the perfect quantity of sun sweetened raisins.
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i'd gone to the police about victor having sex with underage girls, and i was the first girl to speak up about it. but felt like nobody was really doing anything about it. so i decided to write a letter to the senator out in minnesota. and some other congress men, the president, and i explained my story in the letter. and asked for their help. it had been two whole years of waiting for them to charge victor. i thought that it was possible its would never get filed. after months, the local news in
minnesota contacted me through an e-mail and said he heard about the story and wanted to see if he could help with some media, if it wouldn't help get the case rolling. >> to his followers, victor barnard is a spiritual leader, but the pine county sheriff calls him a pedophile, plain and simple. and the ones who finally had the courage to come forward may have been his youngest victims. >> and it seemed after that aired everyone seemed to be making it like a really big deal. >> good evening. i'm nancy grace. i want to thank you for being with us. bombshell tonight, how did this happen? >> there are so many aspects to this story, nancy. >> these parents, they have to be on another planet. >> two years to bring charges. this is a perfect case for prosecution. >> they went to the media. that garnered a lot of attention. locally on this case. and shortly thereafter, a criminal complaint was produced.
by the county attorney. i was thrilled. we have 59 counts of sexual, criminal misconduct, involving two juvenile female victims. it gives us the ability to go door to door to look for him. to have him arrested wherever he is found. there is nothing i would like better than to see this fellow sitting in my jail. awaiting his trial. the criminal justice system owes that to these victims. >> i'm in awe of lindsey. nobody else could get anything done about this guy. no strong, big men could get the criminal justice system to go
hunt down victor barnard, and lindsey did it while she was estranged from her family, out there by herself. >> in 2012, i brought up to my mom what had happened in minnesota. all she said was, i know that mistakes were made. but i still believe victor is a man of god, and i'm going to follow him. so i feel like i hate them sometimes. i feel a lot of anger. i feel like basically, i haven't had parents since i was 13. >> these are survivors. and they're getting on with their lives. and i'm proud of them for coming
forward. and i'm asking anyone else that has a similar story to come forward. come forward and talk to us. >> victor barnard is out there, and he's not doing anything different. he's looking for that naïve set of people to force his propaganda down their throats so he can get at their wives and their children. >> my daughter's still there. my eldest daughter is still there. my husband never left. >> i still have two sisters and my mom is still out there. in washington state. still believing this man who raped me when i was 13. i mean, at this point, i feel like they're brainwashed.
>> everybody that was a part of this feel responsible. >> you lose sleep over it. you, sometimes you can't get it off your mind. >> to use god's name to say, you know, you're obligated to have sex with me because i'm a man of god? it just doesn't get any more disgusting than that. >> i've talked to a lot of the young people. a lot of them don't even want to believe in god after that. and he stole that. he stole the innocence of what the church is supposed to be for people. for his own selfish gain.
>> victor barnard has been known to ride a motor cycle. he's athletic and has played football and hockey in the past. if you see victor barnard or have any information about his whereabouts, please call us at 1-866-the-hunt or go online at cnn.com/the hunt. we'll pass your information along to the proper authorities and if requested, we'll not reveal your name. >> i still have nightmares every night with victor and the girls in it. but ever since i found out i was pregnant, it's given me something to focus. what happened to me, i will never, ever let anything like that ever happen to her. i already know how much i love
her and will protect her with everything that i have. back in 1981 i had the american dream. one day i went to work and kissed my son good bye and never saw him again. in two weeks i became the parent of a murdered child. i still have the heart ache, the rage. i waited years for justice. i know what it's like to be there waiting for some answers. and over those years i learned how to do one thing really well and that is how to catch these bastards and bring them back to