Officer Accused of Abduction

By Timothy Dwyer
Washington Post Staff Writer
Monday, October 30, 2006

A Prince William County police officer is facing criminal charges following allegations that he handcuffed, abducted and solicited sex from a 21-year-old woman after a traffic stop.

Michael E. Barnett, 32, a patrol officer who has worked the midnight shift in the eastern part of the county for the past year and a half, turned himself in to authorities early yesterday, police said. A warrant for Barnett's arrest on the felony charge of abduction with intent to defile had been issued Saturday, and Barnett turned himself in after hearing a news report that he was being sought, police said.

Barnett was being held in the Prince William County Adult Detention Center yesterday without bond. Arraignment is scheduled for this morning.

He allegedly stopped a Woodbridge woman Oct. 13 at an unidentified location and, after handcuffing her, drove her to a remote area and propositioned her. "No sex occurred and she was released uninjured," according to a news release from Prince William police.

The woman contacted Prince William police to report the alleged abduction, and Barnett was suspended from duty last week after a preliminary internal investigation, police said. He has been on the force for less than two years.

"By law, I cannot comment on the individual's personnel situation other than to say that his police powers have been suspended," Chief Charlie T. Deane said. "However, I will say that it is my personal and professional opinion that anyone who engages in this type of abuse of authority should not be a law enforcement officer."

A police spokeswoman said the department would not release details about Barnett's record as an officer because it was a personnel matter and therefore private. Police asked that anyone who might have been "inappropriately approached" by Barnett call the department's Internal Affairs Bureau at 703-792-6657.

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