Pine County Attorney Reese Frederickson and Assistant Pine County Attorney Michelle Skubitz were named 2016 Attorneys of the Year by Minnesota Lawyer, a legal publication. Reese and Michelle were chosen for their extensive work in the prosecution and conviction of Victor Barnard. They and the other honorees will be featured in a special edition of Minnesota Lawyer and honored at a ceremony in February.
Barnard, a leader of a cult formerly based in Pine County, was convicted of criminal sexual conduct in the repeated rape of two girls that had occurred over a decade. The case led to an international manhunt and worldwide media attention. Barnard was apprehended in Brazil, eventually extradited to Minnesota, and successfully prosecuted in Pine County.
"It’s an honor to receive statewide recognition for our hard work in a particularly challenging and emotional case," said Frederickson on obtaining the honor. "The fact we were able to bring closure to the victims and obtain the maximum sentence allowed under law makes this result especially satisfying. The Barnard case is an example of the hard work our team performs everyday in Pine County."