VICTOR BARNARD: Timeline of a cult leader - FOX13 News, WHBQ FOX 13

VICTOR BARNARD: Timeline of a cult leader

Posted: Updated:

Below is a timeline of significant life events in Victor Barnard's past.

Location: Minneapolis, MN

Victor Barnard graduated from the prestigious Breck School.

Location: Geneva, NY

Barnard attends Hobart College and takes the Power for Abundant Living class.

Location: New Knoxville, OH

Barnard first meets Dr. Victor Paul Wierwille at The Way International Headquarters.

Location: Unknown

Barnard joins The Way International.

Location: Unknown

Barnard receives a personal letter from Dr. Wierwille that reads in part, "I love you and thank God for your life."

Location: Unknown

Barnard begins his first year of residence in the 14th Way Corps.

Location: Capitan Mountains, NM

Barnard claims to have had a spiritual epiphany.

Location: New Knoxville, OH

Dr. Victor Wierwille, founder and leader of The Way International, dies on May 20 of hepatocellular carcinoma and melanoma.


Location: New Knoxville, OH

Barnard marries his wife, Stephanie, a fellow student in The Way International.

Both Victor and Stephanie Barnard graduate with degrees in theology.

Location: Alameda, CA 

The Barnards move to a place where Victor Barnard said they "face manifold temptations."

Location: Charlottesville, VA

The Barnards move for what Victor called a "time of healing."

Location: St. Paul, MN

The Barnards move back to Victor Barnard's home state and join a local chapter of The Way International.

Location: Blaine, MN

The Barnards move with other members of The Way International.

Location: Two Harbors, MN

Victor Barnard and other members of The Way International make the first of many pilgrimages to Gooseberry Falls.

Location: St. Paul, MN

St. Paul branch of The Way International dissolves, and Barnard begins giving lectures on the Bible and teaching.

Location: Paynseville, MN

Barnard claims to have had a spiritual epiphany at Lake Koronis.

Location: Rush City, MN

Barnard and former followers of The Way International move north.

Location: Rush City, MN

The River Road Fellowship is formed.

Location: Rush City, MN

More followers join River Road, and Barnard says God has told him to acquire a camp.

Location: Finlayson, MN

Old resort acquired and rechristened "The Shepherd's Camp," and the Barnards move in with three other families installed as trustees of the River Road Fellowship.

Location: Pennsylvania

Barnard travels across the country to ask former members of The Way International to join his ministry in Finlayson and meets Lindsay Tornambie's parents.

Finlayson, MN

Barnard publishes a series of pamphlets with his own interpretation of scripture.

Location: Finlayson, MN

The Maidens group is formed, consisting of 10 eldest daughters of camp members. In September, Barnard allegedly began sexually abusing two of The Maidens -- 13-year-old Lindsay Tornambie and 12-year-old Jess Schweiss. Charges allege the abuse continued for about a decade.

Location: Finlayson, MN

A group from Florida joins the River Road Fellowship.

Location: Spokane, WA

River Road Fellowship begins to splinter after members accuse Barnard of sleeping with his followers' adult, married wives. A majority of members follow him to the west.

Pine City, MN

In January, an adult female follower files a report with the Pine County Sheriff's Office accusing Barnard of having a sexual affair with her while acting in a role as minister, which is considered third-degree criminal sexual conduct under Minnesota law.

Pine City, MN

The Pine County Attorney's Office declines to file charges for the adult follower, with Assistant County Attorney Steve Cundy writing, "The sad truth is, these individuals admit that they were essentially 'brainwashed' by Barnard.' He also notes that there was information of possible sexual abuse of juveniles, but called the claim" merely suspicious. There is no record of a follow-up investigation.

Location: Pine City, MN

In January, Lindsay Tornambie and Jess Schweiss go to Pine County Sheriff's Office to report years of sexual abuse.

Location: Spokane, WA

Pine County sheriff's investigators travel to Washington to try to arrest Barnard, but attorneys refuse to file arrest warrant. Barnard is seen boarding a plane to Brazil, where he also has followers.

Barnard re-enters the U.S. and returns to Spokane area later in 2012.

Location: Minneapolis, MN

FOX 9 Investigators detail the allegations of Lindsay Tornambie and Jess Schweiss and the lack of charges from the Pine County Attorney's Office.

Location: Pine City, MN

On April 11, the Pine County attorney announces a nationwide arrest warrant has been issued for Victor Barnard in connection with 59 charges of felony criminal sexual conduct.

Widgets Magazine
Powered by WorldNow

WHBQ-TV | Fox 13
485 S. Highland St.
Memphis, TN 38111

Main Station: (901) 320-1313
Newsroom: (901) 320-1340

Didn't find what you were looking for?
All content © Copyright 2000 - 2014 Fox Television Stations, Inc. and Worldnow. All Rights Reserved.
Privacy Policy | New Terms of Service What's new | Ad Choices