An American cult leader suspected of sexually assaulting several girls, some reportedly as young as 12, has been detained in Brazil, police said Saturday.

Police tracked down 53-year-old Victor Barnard, wanted on 59 counts of sexual assault, in the beach resort of Pipa near the northern city of Natal after a search coordinated with US authorities, Globo television reported.

Barnard, who founded his River Road Fellowship sect in the US state of Minnesota, is accused of a series of assaults over the course of nearly a decade. He was the subject of an international manhunt.

According to the US Marshals Service, Barnard set up a campsite near the town of Finlayson in 2000, urging several followers to let their daughters live with him there.

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