dcf

Barnes

A former Florida Department of Children and Families spokesperson was arrested Thursday after police found child pornography on his house desktop computer, Gainesville Police said.

Thomas William Barnes, 67, was arrested at about 12:57 p.m. at GPD Headquarters after investigators spent months looking into Barnes’ possession and transmission of child pornography, according to an arrest report.

On Aug. 12, Yahoo notified the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children that a user had transmitted suspected child pornography Aug. 12 from a specific IP address, according to the report. A subpoena to Cox Communications revealed the IP address belonged to Barnes, and Yahoo confirmed the account user was “Tom Barnes.”

Police said they searched Barnes’ desktop computer at his house and found multiple folders of child pornography, which were saved and hidden within folders that police called seemingly innocuous, like modem and device drivers folders. One folder titled “Too much” had at least 55 images depicting sexual interactions with children who are as young as 6 years old, according to the report.

Police are still unsure how many images and videos of child pornography are on Barnes’ computer, according to the report.

The Gainesville Sun identified Barnes as a former DCF employee.

Barnes was arrested on charges of possessing and promoting child pornography. He was taken to the Alachua County Jail where he remains, as of press time, in lieu of a $900,000 bond.

Meryl Kornfield, a UF journalism junior, covers the metro desk in Gainesville. Born in Miami, FL, her first journalism experience was working for her high school newspaper, The Palmetto Panther.