The News Courier in Athens, Alabama

December 26, 2013

N.Y. Man faces rape, sodomy charges locally

By Jean Cole
jean@athensnews-courier.com

— A quick-thinking employee with the Department of Human Resources brought about the arrest of a New York man on multiple charges of rape, sodomy and sexual abuse, an official said.

Nicholas Paul Barner, 31, of 11 Madison Ave., Auburn, N.Y., was recently indicted on six counts of second-degree rape and one count each of second-degree sodomy and second-degree sexual abuse, records show. He remains in the Limestone County Jail with bail set at $115,000.

Limestone County District Attorney Brian Jones said Barner went to the Limestone County DHR in May to inquire about obtaining food stamps because he had run out of money and was living in a hotel. Accompanying him was a 15-year-old girl, Jones said.

“Because of the girl’s age, the DHR employee became suspicious and called the sheriff’s department where Barner lived in New York, and they knew of him,” Jones said.

Athens Police launched an investigation and determined Barner and the girl had met four years ago while playing an online game, and they had maintained contact, Jones said. Barner came to Alabama to visit the girl, and the two began to engage in a sexual relationship, the district attorney said.

Athens Police Investigator Johnny Campbell investigated the case.