Man who allegedly lured kids on app for child porn due in court

An Aurora man is due in court Wednesday on charges that he used a popular social networking site to find young girls who would help him produce child pornography.

The app is called musical.ly. It bills itself as the world's largest creative platform.

“Saw the flashing police lights, and opened up the door a little bit and saw a squad car on the lawn, and others blocking his truck in the driveway,” said neighbor Bob Sampson.

Neighbors say that before sunrise Monday, FBI agents and police dressed in SWAT gear took Richard Barnett into custody. The show of force was necessary because according to an FBI affidavit, Barnett's Facebook page shows him displaying numerous firearms. He's accused of inducing young girls, ages 9 through 12, to perform sexually explicit acts online.

Prosecutors say he found his victims by posing as a 13-year-old boy on the social network site musical.ly. It's a popular app which allows youngsters to produce short videos accompanied by music and special effects. Barnett allegedly also contacted victims using a free app called live.ly where users can stream their performances live. Prosecutors say he used the screenname “davidbanks1014.”

FOX 32 has learned he works for the Federal Aviation Administration in Des Plaines. His Facebook page says he once worked for the Department of Homeland Security and in sales at Babies ‘R Us.

Neighbors say Barnett is a Navy Veteran who is divorced and lived alone in his Aurora home.

Sampson lives right next door.

“I love kids, two of my kids died of spinal muscular atrophy, so I have a total commitment to kids, and to find this out is very repulsive,” Sampson said.

Prosecutors say Barnett sometimes threatened to rape or kidnap his victims, none of whom appear to have been in the Chicago area.

The FBI recommends that when youngsters are using apps, parents should be involved in setting them up, and know their child's user names and passwords. They also say parents should keep a close eye on their child's videos, texts, friends, followers and fans.

Barnett is represented by a public defender who told FOX 32 she could not discuss ongoing cases. He’ll appear for a bond hearing Wednesday afternoon at the Dirksen Building.

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