The former Pine County-based cult leader Victor Barnard has won an appeal on his criminal conviction.
Instead of serving 30 years in prison, Barnard's sentence will be lowered to 24 years. Barnard had been reassigned to a prison outside the state after he was assaulted by another inmate at the Rush City prison in January and suffered significant injuries.
Pine County Attorney Reese Frederickson said this about the reduction: “It’s a judicial clerical error. They’re saying the penalty for that is to take away six years for a sex offender’s sentence.”
Barnard had plead guilty to two counts of felony sexual assault, and was formally sentenced to 30 years in prison last October.
Frederickson continued, "We plan to appeal it from the Minnesota Supreme Court, so it's a process that's going to take some time unfortunately. But I feel there is basis for appeal and the fact that a judicial officer made a clerical mistake should not reduce the sentence where all parties agreed to the sentence."
Any further updates will be released by WCMP.