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Child Exploitation
10/31/2019

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Spanaway, WA man convicted of production and distribution of sexually explicit images of 11-year-old child

Images posted to internet site; defendant bragged to Australian police detective about producing them

TACOMA, Wash. – A Spanaway, Washington man who made sexually explicit images of an 11-year-old child and traded the child’s underwear for more images of child rape, was convicted today in U.S. District Court in Tacoma of three federal charges, Eben Roberts, acting special agent in charge of HSI Seattle announced today.

Donnie Barnes Sr., 52, was convicted of production of child pornography, distribution of child pornography and possession of child pornography following a two-day jury trial. Barnes faces a mandatory minimum 15-year prison term when sentenced by U.S. District Judge Benjamin H. Settle February 3, 2020.

According to records filed in the case and testimony at trial, in February 2018, Barnes came to the attention of law enforcement when a police detective in Queensland, Australia noticed a suspicious file on a public photo-sharing website. The album showed close-up photos of a child’s genitals. In an undercover persona, the officer commented on the photos, and received emails the next day from Barnes describing the child in sexual terms, and revealing Barnes relationship to the child.

In early March 2018, agents with Homeland Security Investigations searched Barnes residence in Spanaway. When interviewed by law enforcement, Barnes admitted photographing the child while the child was asleep, and uploading the images to the internet. Additionally, Barnes told officers he had traded soiled underwear from the child for additional images of child rape to someone seeking such items via Craigslist. Those images were located on an electronic storage device in Barnes’ home.

Production of child pornography is punishable by a mandatory minimum 15-year prison term, and up to thirty years in prison. Possession and distribution of child pornography are both punishable by up to twenty years in prison. 

The case was investigated by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s (ICE) Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) with assistance from the Queensland Police Service.

The case is being prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorneys Matthew Hampton and Lyndsie Schmalz.

This case was brought as part of Project Safe Childhood, a nationwide initiative to combat the growing epidemic of child sexual exploitation and abuse launched in May 2006 by the Department of Justice. Led by United States Attorneys’ Offices and the Criminal Division's Child Exploitation and Obscenity Section, 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 to identify and rescue victims. For more information about Project Safe Childhood, please visit www.justice.gov/psc.

For more information about HSI’s child exploitation mission, please visit https://www.ice.gov/predator.

For more information about Project Safe Childhood, please visit www.usdoj.gov/psc.

For more information about internet safety education, please visit www.usdoj.gov/psc and click on the tab “resources.”

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Last Reviewed/Updated: 11/01/2019