Fort Bragg paratrooper sentenced for child porn and desertion after 6 years AWOL overseas

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Robert L. Barnett III (U.S. Army photo)

A former Fort Bragg soldier has been demoted, dishonorably discharged and sentenced for deserting the military and producing and viewing child pornography, officials said Tuesday.


Robert L. Barnett III's rank was reduced from specialist to private after a military judge found him guilty of the charges, officials said.

Barnett, a soldier with the 82nd Airborne Division, was sentenced to 11 years confinement and discharged by a general court-martial Oct. 23.

The military court found Barnett, 35, "engaged in lewd web camera exchanges with numerous female minors" between February and October 2012, officials said.

Officials said Barnett deserted his unit and fled from the U.S. to the United Kingdom with his wife and children.

Officials credited international cooperation between the 82nd Airborne Division Staff Judge Advocate and Provost Marshal, U.S. Air Forces in Europe, the U.S. State Department, the British Ministry of Defence and the London Metropolitan Police to leading to Barnett's arrest May 31. He was transferred to U.S. military custody the following day and flown to Pope Army Airfield.

Maj. Gen. James Mingus, commander of the 82nd Airborne Division, praised his team's "perseverance" and significant interagency and bilateral support that was instrumental in securing Barnett's return.

Officials said Barnett was transferred to U.S. military custody the day after his arrest and flown directly to Pope Army Airfield on a C-17 transport with military police escort.

Before his desertion, Barnett served about a year as an infantryman assigned to Headquarters and Headquarters Company, 2nd Battalion, 325th Airborne Infantry Regiment, 2nd Brigade Combat Team, 82nd Airborne Division.

He was previously enlisted in the Marine Corps.

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©2019 The Fayetteville Observer (Fayetteville, N.C.). Distributed by Tribune Content Agency, LLC.

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