WASHINGTON (AP) — A District of Columbia police officer who authorities say was housing a missing teenager inside his apartment was arrested Wednesday on charges of enlisting two girls to work for him as prostitutes.
Linwood Barnhill Jr., who joined the force in 1989 and is on administrative leave, is the second officer in as many weeks to face criminal misconduct charges involving children. The other officer, Marc Washington, was charged in a separate child pornography investigation and died after his body was pulled from the Washington Channel, police said Wednesday.
Police Chief Cathy Lanier has called the allegations devastating for the entire department and said the department was reviewing the officers’ backgrounds.
Barnhill, 47, was ordered held without bond on two counts of pandering of a minor. His lawyer did not respond to the allegations during a brief court appearance Wednesday and did not immediately return phone messages. A judge set a preliminary hearing Wednesday.
Barnhill, who has not been on full duty for more than a year because of an injury, was arrested one week after police reported finding a missing 16-year-old girl in his apartment. The girl told police that she met Barnhill at a shopping mall and that he initially invited her to model for him but also offered to arrange paid sex acts with other men, according to charging documents in the case.
The girl said Barnhill, whom she knew as Malik, took nude photographs of her and also offered to pay for clothing and hair-styling ahead of a date with another man, authorities said. The girl said she met multiple other women at the apartment who said they worked for Barnhill as prostitutes, court papers say.
Another 15-year-old girl interviewed Monday told police that she met Barnhill at a bus stop and that he asked if she was interested in modeling for him. The officer “told her that her young age was not a problem because he had other minors who worked for him.”
Barnhill’s arrest came as police confirmed that a man pulled a night earlier from the Washington Channel was the 32-year-old Washington. Police said a car and some clothes were found nearby, and an autopsy was planned to determine how he died.
A phone message left with his public defender was not immediately returned
Though both officers had been assigned to the department’s Seventh District, police have said the cases do not appear to be related.
“As disheartening as it is to have members of this department involved in this type of conduct, I take solace in knowing that it was members of this department who worked tirelessly to ensure that they were brought to justice,” Lanier said in a statement Wednesday.
Washington was arrested last week on charges of taking nude photographs of a 15-year-old runaway.
Authorities say Washington had responded to the girl’s apartment on Nov. 30 to take a missing person’s report, then returned on his own several days later upon her return home. He asked to speak with her privately in her bedroom and directed her to undress so that he could photograph any injuries and take pictures of her tattoos for identification purposes, authorities say.
He later deleted some of the images from his camera in an apparent attempt to hinder the investigation, prosecutors say.
Over the objection of prosecutors who asked that he be detained, a federal judge released Washington to 24-hour permanent home confinement, forbid him from contact with any minors other than in his immediate family and ordered him to wear an electronic monitoring device, which he received Tuesday.
The Pretrial Services Agency for the District of Columbia currently has about 375 defendants who are on electronic monitoring, said director Clifford Keenan. He declined to discuss Washington’s case in particular but said the vast majority of those defendants are tracked by the agency through a passive monitoring system for compliance with curfew and other conditions of release.
The agency is alerted through email or text messages to breaches of the supervision requirements, though notices of breaches that occur at night would typically not be seen until the next day, he said.
(Copyright 2013 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)