Judge questions cop pandering plea

A federal judge is not sure if she'll accept a plea deal for that now former D.C. cop who was recruiting and prostituting underage teens from his apartment in Southeast.

Linwood Barnhill pleaded guilty late Friday to two counts of pandering minors and one count of possessing child porn.

Prosecutors agreed to a deal that would send him to prison for seven years in exchange for his guilty plea. But federal sentencing guidelines would have sent him for years longer.

A spokesman for the US Attorney declined to comment on the US District Judge Rosemary Collyer's criticism that that might not be enough time behind bars for Barnhill.

The ex-cop lumbered into the courtroom in an orange jumpsuit that had slumped down across his stained white t shirt. He'd lost weight in jail.

Another judge called Barnhill a "rogue cop." He graduated with the troubled D.C. police academy class of 1989. MPD lowered standards that year, and some of the recruits have tarnished the department for years.

Barnhill was cruising around D.C. in his black Lincoln Navigator, recruiting 15, 16, 17- year-old girls for "modeling," and then convincing them to engage in sex for money with much older mostly white men he found by advertising naked pictures of the teens on Backpage.com.

An anonymous tipster had warned police about him running a prostitution ring out of his apartment on Stanton Rd, SE as far back as 2011. But an internal affairs investigation failed to turn up any evidence.

Last year, investigators got another tip that they could find a 16-year-old runaway in his apartment. When they got there, they found the 16-year-old, an 18-year-old, and a bucket of condoms like he was running a brothel.

They found video of a 17-year-old performing oral sex on him. They also found pictures of a 15- year-old who told police when they found her that Barnhill had recruited her into prostitution.

It's still unclear why prosecutors did not charge Barnhill with manufacturing child porn, an even more serious charge.

We won't know until sentencing on September 4 whether the judge will accept the deal.


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