MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — A 32-year-old man has been charged with sexually assaulting teen girls he met on social media sites while working as a Minneapolis Police officer, including one he allegedly got intoxicated before assaulting.
Officer Bradley Schnickel was arrested Wednesday for criminal sexual conduct. On Friday, a judge set bail at $500,000, or $250,000 on the condition that he would not be allowed to have any contact with any juvenile females, including his own daughters. Schnickel took the $250,000 option.
He posted bail on the $250,000 amount. That means he was released with conditions that include not being able to see his two children.
On Friday afternoon, an Anoka County Jail administrator confirmed that Schnickel posted bond just before 3 p.m. and was released.
Schnickel faces six felony counts, including two counts of third-degree criminal sexual conduct and one count of attempted third-degree criminal sexual conduct, as well as three further counts of engaging in electronic communication relating to or describing sexual conduct with a child.
The charges carry a maximum prison sentence of 46 1/2 years.
Not long after the charges were filed, Minneapolis Police Department PIO Sgt. Stephen McCarty tweeted: “Schnickel is not employed by the City, his last date of employment is February 8, 2013.”
Investigators said they don’t believe they’re even a third of the way through all of the information they have in the case. Deputies were looking at Schnickel’s online communications, and the Anoka County Sheriff’s Office says social media sites have turned over more than 9,000 pages of online communications.
Among the details in the criminal complaint, investigators say that they know of separate incidents involving at least four different girls, all of whom were either 13 or 14 years old at the time of the assaults. In some cases, he had sexual contact with them. In others, he sent sexually suggestive messages and nude pictures. He also asked them to send naked photos, too. He repeatedly told the girls he was younger than he actually was and used aliases “Brady and Brian Schmidt.”
Authorities said when Schnickel figured out that police were investigating him last month, he went back to the victims and told them to deny everything.
In a written statement, Minneapolis’ police chief said if the allegations are true, they are “horrific and (go) against everything the department represents, our core values and our mission.”