A Coast Guardsman was charged by the U.S. Attorney's Office for the Northern District of Ohio with accessing, possessing, and distributing child pornography.
Lt. Sean Barnhill was investigated by the FBI for conduct that occurred off-duty on his personal computer. The Coast Guard Investigative Service continues to assist the FBI with their investigation.
Barnhill was assigned to the
command center in Cleveland when the alleged misconduct was investigated. He has since been reassigned to a different position where he does not have access to classified or sensitive materials.
“The charges against Lieutenant Barnhill, if proven, suggest a broad deviation from our Coast Guard core values of honor and respect,” said Rear Adm. Fred Midgette, commander of the
. "We continue our cooperation with the Department of Justice to ensure a comprehensive investigation and a fair trial.”
If convicted, the defendant's sentence will be determined by the court after a review of factors unique to this case, including the defendant's prior criminal record, if any, the defendant's role in the offense, and the characteristics of the violation.