After 11 months on the run, an American minister accused of molesting girls as young as 12 has been captured in Brazil, NBC News reports. According to authorities, 53-year-old Victor Arden Barnard was arrested in his apartment late Friday near one of the country's white sand beaches.
Last April, Barnard was charged with 59 counts of criminal sexual conduct with young girls while leading a Christian fellowship in Minnesota. Each charge carries a maximum penalty of 30 years in prison. From CBS News:
According to a criminal complaint in the U.S., two women said they were among about 10 girls and young women who were chosen to live apart from their families in a camp that Barnard set up near Finlayson, Minnesota, about 90 miles north of Minneapolis.
One woman alleged Barnard sexually abused her beginning at age 13 and continuing until she was 22. The other said her abuse occurred between ages 12 and 20.
Barnard allegedly kept the girls isolated, and U.S. authorities have said he used religious coercion and intimidation to maintain his control over them, calling it cult-like behavior. He allegedly told one victim she would remain a virgin because he was a "man of God," according to a criminal complaint.
Since then, Barnard has been a fugitive from the law, making his way onto the U.S. Marshals' 15 Most Wanted list. Last believed to be in Washington state, Barnard reportedly entered Brazil illegally in 2012.
[Image via U.S. Marshals]