Lawsuit claims cult has relocated in Spokane

SPOKANE, Wash - A lawsuit filed in Minnesota claims a dangerous cult from Minnesota has reorganized in Spokane; the suit claims several people now living here should be liable for not protecting young girls from sexual abuse.

The lawsuit pertains to the River Road Fellowship, a group that operated for several years in Minnesota. According to attorneys, leader Victor Barnard "gathered a group of young females at Sheperd's Camp that were referred to as the Maidens Group. The Maidens Group ranged in age from 12-24 years old... While there, Barnard had regular sexual contact, including oral sex and intercourse, with the members of the Maidens Group."

Barnard was captured in Brazil in 2015 and is now serving 30 years in prison for sexual abuse.

One of the victims, Lindsay Tornambe, filed a civil lawsuit this week, seeking damages against Barnard, the River Road Fellowship and its leaders for "failing to protect her while she resided at the River Road Fellowship compound." Tornambe is also seeking damages against others in the group who she says failed to supervise Barnard.

Several members of the group now live in the Spokane area and are named in the lawsuit. According to Tornambe's attorneys, "She is speaking out in Spokane because she believes the cult leaders have moved to Eastern Washington and she fears for the safety of the children in the region."

"We are concerned that this cult has reorganized itself in and around Spokane, Washington and children may be at risk," said Leander James, an attorney from Coeur d'Alene. "We intend to uncover any ongoing cult activities in Spokane, Bellingham and the Northwest that is putting our children in jeopardy today."

Named in the lawsuit are Susan Elmblad of Spokane, Craig Elmblad of Spokane, Randal Roark of Cheney, Pamela Roark of Cheney and Stephanie Barnard of Liberty Lake.