Former MPD Officer Pleads Guilty to Charges of Pandering of a Minor and Possession of Child Pornography
WASHINGTON—Linwood Barnhill, 48, a former officer with the Metropolitan Police Department (MPD), pled guilty today to two counts of pandering of a minor and one count of possession of child pornography, announced U.S. Attorney Ronald C. Machen Jr., Valerie Parlave, Assistant Director in Charge of the FBI’s Washington Field Office, and Cathy L. Lanier, Chief of the Metropolitan Police Department.
Barnhill, who was assigned to the Seventh Police District, entered the guilty plea in the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia. He has resigned from the department.
The Honorable Rosemary M. Collyer scheduled sentencing for Sept. 4, 2014. The plea agreement, which is subject to the Court’s approval, calls for a prison sentence of seven years. Barnhill also will be required to register as a sex offender for at least 25 years.
According to the government’s evidence, on Dec. 3, 2013, officers with the MPD’s Youth Investigations Division located a missing 16-year-old girl at Barnhill’s residence in Washington, D.C. Over the course of the previous two weeks, the government’s evidence showed, Barnhill had begun the process of cultivating the juvenile to engage in prostitution, including taking clothed and unclothed photographs of her. During this time-frame, he stated that he was going to send the photos to a man who was interested in “an appointment” with her. Barnhill further explained that he was going to set up a “date” for her to engage in sexual acts with this man, who would pay her $80. The juvenile was to provide Barnhill with $20 after the completion of the “date.” Barnhill arranged to have the juvenile’s hair done in preparation for the date. The 16-year-old never actually engaged in prostitution for the defendant.
During the course of the ensuing investigation, MPD officers and members of the FBI’s Child Exploitation Task Force learned that the defendant was involved in prostitution-related activities with other adult and juvenile females, including a 15-year-old.
According to the government’s evidence, the 15-year-old met Barnhill in September 2013, when he pulled up to her at the bus stop and asked if she was interested in modeling for him. The 15-year-old agreed to model for the defendant and went back to his apartment to “take modeling pictures.” Barnhill, who asked her to escort for him, took a series of clothed and unclothed photographs of the girl. Later that night, he contacted her by cell phone and told her that he had somebody that wanted to meet her for a “date.” Barnhill collected the money and paid the 15-year-old a portion of that money once she was finished with the “date.”
In addition, during the course of their investigation, law enforcement identified a 17-year-old female who also met the defendant in October 2013 when he pulled up to her at a bus stop in Washington, D.C. and asked her if she wanted to model. Sometime later, the 17-year-old went to Barnhill’s residence. He brought her into his bedroom where he took multiple photographs of her, clothed and unclothed. After taking the photos, Barnhill asked the 17-year-old to perform oral sex on him. While she performed oral sex, Barnhill held his cellular phone and video-recorded the session. That video was recovered from a cell phone seized from the defendant’s residence pursuant to a search warrant.
Barnhill has been in custody since his arrest in December 2013.
“Linwood Barnhill betrayed his duty to protect the community by trying to exploit teenage girls,” said U.S. Attorney Machen. “As a result of his deplorable conduct, he will now be headed to prison to join the criminals he spent his career locking up. We appreciate the tremendous work of the MPD detectives and FBI agents who worked so hard to bring Mr. Barnhill’s betrayal to light.”
“The FBI is committed to apprehending individuals who sexually exploit young girls, and we will continue to work with our law enforcement partners to bring these predators to justice, no matter who they are or what their profession is,” said Assistant Director in Charge Parlave.
“A person of this character has no business being a police officer,” said Chief Lanier. “This is a disgrace to the thousands of hard working men and women of the Metropolitan Police Department who have integrity and put their lives on the line each day.”
This case was brought as part of the Department of Justice’s Project Safe Childhood initiative and investigated by the FBI’s Child Exploitation Task Force, which includes members of the FBI’s Washington Field Office and MPD. In February 2006, the Attorney General created Project Safe Childhood, a nationwide initiative designed to protect children from online exploitation and abuse. Led by the U.S. Attorney’s Offices, Project Safe Childhood marshals federal, state, and local resources to better locate, apprehend, and prosecute individuals who exploit children via the Internet, as well as identify and rescue victims. For more information about Project Safe Childhood, please visit www.projectsafechildhood.gov.
In announcing the guilty plea, U.S. Attorney Machen, Assistant Director Parlave and Chief Lanier commended the work of the MPD detectives and Special Agents of the FBI’s Child Exploitation Task Force. They also expressed appreciation for the efforts of Assistant U.S. Attorney Ari Redbord, who is prosecuting the case.