Judge tells Tri-Cities child pornographer he has 28 years in prison to prove he’s not a monster

Zayne K. Barbre, 29, was sentenced to Richland’s U.S. District Court to 28 years in prison for recording sex acts with teenage boys and sharing the videos with other men.
Zayne K. Barbre, 29, was sentenced to Richland’s U.S. District Court to 28 years in prison for recording sex acts with teenage boys and sharing the videos with other men. Tri-City Herald

A young man recalled Thursday the day in high school when he was questioned by a Richland detective.

The detective asked the teen if he’d ever agreed to being photographed naked. The officer then showed him the photos taken by Zayne K. Barbre.

“When I saw what he had done, I felt shattered,” the now college-aged victim said Thursday in U.S. District Court in Richland.

At the time, the teen vomited in the police station’s parking lot before getting in his car. At home he showered still in his clothes, crawled into bed without changing and cried for hours.

He felt broken, filthy, violated, defiled and wanted to die.

Thursday, almost two years since learning he was the victim of child pornography, the man asked a federal judge to show Barbre, 29, no mercy and send him away for 28 years.

“I don’t want him to hurt people like he hurt me. I don’t want him to hurt me like he hurt the other victims,” he said. “It’s important to me that he serves a long sentence so that I have the peace of mind there are bars and armed guards between him and the world.”

The victim isn’t named under a Tri-City Herald policy not to identify sexual assault victims.

Meth exchanged for sex

He was one of four teenage boys, ages 14-17, whom Barbre gave methamphetamine in exchange for sex.

Barbre recorded both the drug use and the sex acts, and shared the videos with other men.

The allegations go back to late 2014. It all unraveled in early 2017 when another teen reported the sexual abuse to a counselor.

That teen later revealed that Barbre also had been prostituting him, by setting up sexual encounters with strangers and giving drugs to the boy before and after the meet-ups. Barbre would drive him there and wait outside to collect the money.

Police got copies of Barbre’s Facebook account to show his conversations with the teen. Then they searched his Richland home and confirmed a report that Barbre was harboring a young runaway.

Guilty pleas for child porn

Barbre pleaded guilty last fall to distributing child pornography and four counts of producing child porn.

Two more charges for attempted enticement of a minor and possession of child porn were dismissed as part of the plea deal.

Now that the federal case is wrapped up, Barbre is expected to return to Benton County Superior Court to plead guilty to promoting commercial sex abuse of a minor and two counts each of third-degree child rape and distribution of meth to a person under age 18 with sexual motivation.

The recommended 23-year sentence on the state case will be served at the same time that he’s doing the 28 years ordered Thursday by federal Judge Sal Mendoza Jr.

Plea deal reduces life sentence

Barbre was facing life in prison, but Assistant U.S. Attorney David M. Herzog worked out a deal so the victims didn’t have to testify at a trial about the trauma.

The victim who spoke Thursday said he now understands why minors cannot consent to sex and wishes he had known what a healthy relationship was like so he could have avoided Barbre.

The young man, who was 15 when he met Barbre, said for a long time he blamed himself. He was confused and foolish, and believes Barbre was “taking advantage of those juvenile characteristics.”

He still has trust issues with new partners and worries they will think he is damaged, but has found solidarity with other sex crime victims.

Attorney Nicholas W. Marchi said his clients admits what he did was wrong and accepts responsibility with his guilty plea.

“He is a man who made a mistake, which was a criminal one,” said Marchi. He also noted in sentencing documents that the family believes Barbre was born with fetal alcohol syndrome, and that he himself may have been a victim of sexual abuse as a child.

Barbre told the judge he had nothing to add.

‘Acts that a monster would do’

Judge Mendoza said that while Barbre was sexually victimizing minors, he enticed them with drugs, friendships, caring and ultimately deceit. “You then produced and distributed child pornography depicting sexual acts you committed against the four minors,” he said.

There aren’t very many crimes on the books “that are worse than what you did,” he said. “I can probably count them in one hand.”

The victims’ pain and Barbre’s attempted destruction of their lives comes through in the victims’ letters to the court, said Mendoza.

“What you did here are acts that a monster would do,” he said. “But you have a life to live after this. Prove to yourself that you are not that monster that handcuffed these children, because they were children and you violated them.”

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Kristin M. Kraemer covers the judicial system and crime issues for the Tri-City Herald. She has been a journalist for more than 20 years in Washington and California.