Cleveland Coast Guardsman sentenced in child pornography case

Department of Justice LogoCLEVELAND – A Cleveland-based Coast Guardsman was sentenced to 15 years in prison, a life term of supervised release and requirement to register as a sex offender Friday for accessing, possessing and distributing child pornography in violation of Title 18 U.S. Code Section 2252A.

Lt. Sean Barnhill, of North Ridgeville, Ohio, was investigated by the Federal Bureau of Investigation for conduct that occurred off duty on his personal computer, and pled guilty to one count of knowing receipt and distribution of child pornography July 13, 2015.

Barnhill was assigned to the Coast Guard 9th District command center in Cleveland when the investigation began. He was immediately reassigned to a different position where he did not have access to classified or sensitive materials and has been in an unpaid status since February 18, and in a detention facility since April 27.

“Lt. Barnhill’s actions represent a complete deviation from our Coast Guard core values of honor, respect, and devotion to duty,” said Capt. Eric Johnson, head of the 9th District Incident Management Branch. “As the judicial process in federal court has now concluded, the Coast Guard will initiate our internal processes to remove the member from the service.”

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