Child Sexual Abuse
The U.S. Marshals Service has added a self-professed minister accused of sexually abusing young girls in rural Minnesota to its 15 Most Wanted Fugitives list. Fifty-three-year-old Victor Barnard is charged with 59 counts of criminal sexual conduct involving two members of a “Maidens Group” within a church he led called the River Road Fellowship.
There are new allegations that the Archdiocese of St. Paul and Minneapolis destroyed as many as five suspected child porn videos — and that the Vatican knew what happened. This latest allegation involving the Twin Cities Catholic Church comes as a direct result of a landmark agreement between the church and victims. The agreement has resulted in more names of priests, suspected of sexual abuse against a minor, being released.
The landmark clergy abuse settlement announced Monday buoyed hopes for reform in Minnesota’s Catholic church, but it leaves unanswered questions about what comes next for survivors, church finances and future transparency. The settlement was the result of a novel lawsuit against the Archdiocese of St. Paul and Minneapolis and the Diocese of Winona from nationally prominent clergy abuse attorney Jeff Anderson.
A Minneapolis man faces multiple criminal sexual conduct charges after allegedly drugging and molesting a 10-year-old girl during a sleepover. According to the criminal complaint, 39-year-old Ezra David Taylor hosted a sleepover for his daughter and two of her friends at his residence on the 3500 block of Colfax Avenue on Aug. 2.
The Dakota County attorney’s office is looking into whether St. Paul school district staffers broke the law by not reporting allegations against a custodian now charged with sexual misconduct.
A former custodian at a St. Paul school is facing more accusations of inappropriate behavior with students. Walter Happel, 62, was charged on March 20 after police said he was caught peeking at an 11-year-old boy in a bathroom at Linwood Monroe Arts Plus School.
Prosecutors say they want St. Paul Police to reopen a sexual abuse case against Archbishop John Nienstedt, but not because of any new evidence. The Ramsey County Attorney’s office told WCCO that it doesn’t want reports from the Nienstedt case being made public yet because of other elements that need to be investigated. They say those other elements don’t have anything to do with the archbishop.
Aaron Biber will be sentenced today