A former North Chicago police officer pleaded guilty to a prostitution charge Thursday in Lake County Circuit Court and was sentenced to 12 months probation.

Ludwin W. Barreno pleaded guilty to patronizing a prostitute before Circuit Judge Patricia Fix Thursday morning under a negotiated plea deal.

Because he pleaded guilty to a felony, Barreno will no longer be eligible to work as a police officer, according to Cynthia Vargas, communications manager with the Lake County State’s Attorney’s Office.

Barreno, 38, initially had pleaded not guilty last last fall to charges of official misconduct, patronizing a prostitute, and solicitation of a sexual act for alleged incidents involving two different women while on duty earlier in 2017, according to prosecutors.

Under the plea deal, in exchange for the guilty plea, the remaining charges were dismissed.

Conditions of Barreno’s sentence and probation include 75 hours of public service work, no contact with persons involved in the incident and a $750 fine as well as court costs.

Barreno was given credit toward his probationary period for nine days spent in Lake County jail before he bonded out, Vargas said.

After his arraignment last year, Fix ruled that Barreno must surrender any weapons, his passport and firearm owners ID card before he could be released on bond.

In pretrial hearings, Barreno’s attorney, Richard Blass, told the court that Barreno is a decorated Gulf War veteran who was honorably discharged from the military. Blass said Barreno had been under U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs care for treatment of post-traumatic stress disorder and depression.

According to authorities, the charges against the former officer resulted from a joint investigation conducted by the North Chicago Police Department and investigators from the Lake County State’s Attorney’s office.

The charges related to incidents alleged to have occurred in April and June 2017 in the area of 14th Street and Dugdale in North Chicago, according to authorities.

If he had gone to trial and been convicted of official misconduct, Barreno could have faced up to five years in prison.

Patronizing a prostitute, a Class 4 felony, carries a maximum sentence of three years in prison upon conviction.

Barreno, an eight-year veteran of the police department, resigned in June of last year, before the investigation into his case was completed, according to North Chicago Police Chief Richard Wilson.

“It is truly a disappointment when an officer of the law is charged criminally for breaking the very laws he was sworn to uphold,” Wilson said after Barreno was charged.

jrnewton@tribpub.com

Twitter @jimnewton5

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