Man accused of targeting underage girl may have other victims

By: Andy Kozlowski | Madison-Park News | Published December 14, 2023

 Barron Dukes

Barron Dukes


MADISON HEIGHTS — A local man stands accused of sharing and requesting explicit photos with an underage girl, and police believe there may be more victims.

The Oakland County Prosecutor’s Office authorized a five-count warrant for Barron Dukes, 30, of Madison Heights, on Nov. 17. At press time, Dukes had no attorney on record with the court, and he did not have an arraignment date.

The charges include criminal sexual conduct in the first degree (victim under age 13, defendant 17 years or older), a felony punishable by life in prison; child sexually abusive activity, a 20-year felony; possession of child sexually abusive material, a four-year felony; and two counts of using computers to commit a crime, one a 20-year felony and the other a seven-year felony.

Authorities say that Dukes contacted a 12-year-old girl using Instagram and Snapchat, and also corresponded with her via text messages. Police say that Dukes sent explicit photos of himself, and also requested explicit photos from the girl.

At press time, Dukes was being held in Macomb County Jail for alleged probation violation in an unrelated case. However, the investigation is ongoing, as Madison Heights police believe there may be other victims.

The department is asking for the public’s assistance identifying potential victims. Tips can be called in to detectives directly at (248) 837-2737 or through the Madison Heights Police Department at (248) 585-2100.

Police also urge parents to pay closer attention to the online activity of their children.

“The best way to protect children while online is to monitor their online activity,” said Detective Lt. David Koehler of the Madison Heights Police Department, via email. Koehler noted that red flags include children who are “secretive and don’t want adults around when online or are only online behind closed doors.”

He added, “Parents should also try to maintain an open communication about online activities and the dangers that are present when online, including the anonymity, and the fact that once something is sent, it can be resent throughout the world in a matter of seconds.”

David Soltis, a member of the Madison Heights City Council, said that he pushed for the reestablishment of the city’s Special Investigations Unit to root out child predators in the hotels and motels where sex trafficking involving minors was taking place. But the issue goes deeper, he said, and merits further investigation.

“Unfortunately, the SIU doesn’t get to the root cause. It tries to stop the bleeding, but it doesn’t prevent the wound. We need to get to the bottom of what causes this behavior,” he said. “Maybe it’s childhood trauma reliving itself, something where treatment can help. I’ve been talking about the issue of maltreatment of children for years, now on my fourth report to council about the problem here in Madison Heights and Michigan, and it feels like we’re not doing enough to find ways to protect children from abuse during their most vulnerable years. We’re so excited about our park amenities, but does that solve the real problems? Sometimes I think our priorities are mixed up.”