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5:25 AM Wed, Nov. 21st

Bagdad man arrested after 9-year-old tells police suspect undressed her, took photos

BAGDAD - Prescott police arrested a Bagdad man last week after they said he took nude pictures of a young girl in Prescott and they found child pornography at his house, a police spokesman said.

Jeremy Barnette, 40, is charged with seven counts of sexual exploitation of a child.

Prescott police Lt. Ken Morley said Barnette was staying at a home on Willow Lake Road in January when the alleged victim, a 9-year-old girl, accused him of coming into her room while she was asleep, undressing her and shooting photos with a cellphone.

When the girl called for help, Barnette left the house, Morley said, and a Yavapai County Sheriff's deputy found him driving on Highway 89 a couple of hours later and held him for Prescott police.

Investigators talked to him, but he denied doing anything to the girl and said he'd lost his phone earlier in the day.

Lacking evidence to hold him, police let Barnette go.

A detective continued to look into the case and found that Barnette had been investigated in 2004 for charges relating to child porn, but, Morley said, there was not enough evidence to charge him at that time.

Investigators were able to get a search warrant Feb. 11 for his home in Bagdad.

When police and Sheriff's deputies conducted the search, "Mr. Barnette was found to be in possession of pornographic images of young children," Morley said. "There were other pictures located that were linked to the 2004 case."

He was arrested and charged with seven counts of sexual exploitation of a child. Chief Deputy County Attorney Dennis McGrane said one count related to the girl's accusations and the other six deal with the child pornography authorities found in his home.

Police are continuing to investigate the 2004 case. No charges have been filed.

Barnette is being held at the Camp Verde jail on a $200,000 bond.