Palm Beach County Traffic Control employee arrested on child porn charges

ROYAL PALM BEACH, Fla. — From being recognized for decades of service, an employee of Palm Beach County's Traffic Control Division is behind bars. Curtis Leo Barber is facing multiple child pornography charges for activity that, investigators said, happened on the job.

Thursday morning, Barber, 53, went to work for the county as he has for thirty years. Thursday afternoon, Barber was escorted out of work in handcuffs.

The State Attorney's 'Sexual Predator Enforcement Unit' said Barber was at work, online, with who he thought was a 15-year old boy.

"There are resources and there are ways for us to identify who is on the other side of that computer talking to us," said Michael Waites, the Chief Investigator at the State Attorney's Office.

For weeks, investigators said, Barber was using his government-issued computer to communicate with, and send nude pictures to, an agent posing as a teen.

"They allow themselves to be exposed to the materials, the conversation, the suggestions," Waites said about investigators.

At about 3 p.m. on Thursday, investigators said Barber was back online on his county computer at his office.

They said Barber was on Skype, video chatting with who he believed was the teen.

Another investigator opened Barber's office door. They said Barber quickly ended the video chat. But investigators had been recording the entire time.

Patrick McKamey was a sexual crimes prosecutor at the Palm Beach County State Attorney's Office years. Now he works at a private firm in West Palm Beach.

"The severity of one click and how it can ruin your life," said McKamey. He said he is seeing an increase in cases similar to Barber's.

"They don't realize that they are dealing with C-4. When people are looking at these images, they have no idea how serious the consequences are," he added.

Barber who resides in Royal Palm Beach was honored in June for three decades of service to Palm Beach County.

Barber is being held more than a million dollars bond for five child pornography charges, including transmission of child pornography, computer pornography and child exploitation.

The Palm Beach County administrator said Barber is currently being evaluated for termination.
 

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