On May 19, 2011, Barnes was arrested in Quincy by a Massachusetts State Police Trooper after one of the victim’s relatives alerted the authorities to information that Barnes had engaged the victim into prostitution. The 15-year old female notified family members where she was. The family went to the hotel in Quincy where they met and reunited with the victim. Barnes was arrested nearby after he fled on foot from a Massachusetts State Trooper.
Authorities allege that Barnes engaged two underage girls, a 15 year-old girl and a 16 year-old girl, into prostitution in order to derive a profit. The investigation revealed that Barnes used the website Backpage.com to advertise the victims for prostitution activities. Barnes allegedly used his cell phone to take photographs of the underage girls, some of which constituted child pornography, and then posted the pictures as part of advertisements for prostitution through the website. Barnes allegedly would transport the girls to hotel rooms and residences in Essex, Suffolk and Norfolk counties where they would engage in prostitution with individuals who had responded to the online advertisements by telephone or email. Investigators also allege that Barnes himself had sexual intercourse with the 15-year old female on several occasions.
In August, AG Coakley and 46 other state attorneys general sent a letter to Backpage.com asking for information about how the website attempts to remove advertising for sex trafficking, especially advertisements that could involve minors.
A Grand Jury returned indictments against Barnes on September 29, 2011. He is scheduled to be arraigned in Suffolk Superior Court on tomorrow, and in Norfolk and Essex Counties on future dates. Barnes is currently being held on $350,000 cash bail related to District Court charges following his arrest May.
The case is being prosecuted by Special Assistant Attorney General Ellen Lemire, of Suffolk DA Conley’s Child Protection Unit and Assistant Attorney General Eileen O’Brien, Senior Counsel in AG Coakley’s Criminal Bureau. The multi-agency investigation received additional assistance from the Norfolk and Essex District Attorneys’ Offices, Boston Police Department, the Massachusetts State Police Special Services Unit, the Norfolk County CPAC Unit and the AG’s Computer Forensics Lab.