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Justice News

Department of Justice
U.S. Attorney’s Office
Eastern District of Virginia

Wednesday, December 7, 2016

Portsmouth Man Sentenced to 9 Years for Distributing Child Pornography

NORFOLK, Va. – Joseph Downing Barnes Jr., 26, of Portsmouth, was sentenced today to 108 months in prison for distribution of child pornography, as well as 25 years of supervised release.

Barnes pleaded guilty on August 31. According to court documents, Barnes was arrested on August 3, for trading child pornography on the internet. In October 2015, Justin Clark was arrested for trading child pornography using the KIK application on his phone. The forensic examination of Clark’s cell phone revealed he regularly traded child pornography with others using KIK, including Barnes. During the investigation of Barnes, his phone was seized and revealed 74 videos and four images of child pornography. In addition to the phone and the email account, his other online accounts contained images of child pornography. Clark was sentenced separately to six years in prison.

Dana J. Boente, U.S. Attorney for the Eastern District of Virginia; and Michael K. Lamonea, Assistant Special Agent in Charge of U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s (ICE) Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) Norfolk, made the announcement after sentencing by U.S. Chief Judge Rebecca Beach Smith.  Assistant U.S. Attorney Elizabeth M. Yusi prosecuted the case.

This investigation was a 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 U.S. Attorneys’ Offices and CEOS, 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

A copy of this press release may be found on the website of the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Eastern District of Virginia.  Related court documents and information may be found on the website of the District Court for the Eastern District of Virginia or on PACER by searching for Case No. 2:16-cr-120.

Project Safe Childhood
Updated December 7, 2016