Police: Somerset attorney’s office raided in search for child pornography

Aug.

19--SOMERSET, Pa. -- Somerset Borough police, acting on a tip, seized computers and computer equipment from a Somerset attorney's office on Wednesday in a hunt for child pornography, authorities alleged. Officers executed a search warrant at Jon A. Barkman's office at 116-118 N.

Center Ave. and seized a computer, computer towers, hard drives, CDs, DVDs, a thumb drive, VHS cassettes and a sex toy, according to a receipt listing the items that allegedly were taken. According to the affidavit of probable cause contained in the search warrant application, the investigation began on May 26 when Marc Valentine, owner of the building, told police he had become increasingly concerned after twice finding child pornography on Barkman's computer monitor. Police interviewed Barkman's family and two of his former employees who revealed that Barkman does "engage in the deliberate, purposeful, voluntary and/or possession of child pornography" using his office computer, tablet, iPad, PDAs and cellphone, the affidavit alleged.

One hard drive was found in an unlocked safe under a secretary's desk. A former employee told police that from 2020 to 2022, Barkman -- a former district magistrate judge -- viewed child pornography daily with images so disturbing, she would shut off the computer, the affidavit said. The search warrant was issued by District Judge Kenneth Johnson, of Somerset.

No charges have been filed.

"It involves a client, and it's a confidential matter," Barkman said by phone Thursday.

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