MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) – A 32-year-old former Minneapolis police officer, who already faces charges in Anoka County, has been charged by Hennepin County with four addition counts of Internet or computer solicitation of children.
Bradley Schnickel, of Andover, passed himself off as Brady Schmidt and Brian Schmidt in cell phone and Facebook conversations with an 11-year-old Brooklyn Center girl, according to the criminal complaint. The conversations were sexually explicit and allegedly included a picture of his genitals.
Schnickel also had similar explicit conversations with a 14-year-old girl, according to the complaint.
“This conduct is sad, outrageous and reprehensible,” Hennepin County Attorney Mike Freeman said. “We look up to our police officers and grant them special standing in our society. To have that trust betrayed is simply wrong and we appreciate the swift action of the Minneapolis Police Department in firing him. Our hearts go out to the children and their families who were so impacted by this unacceptable conduct.”
In Anoka County, Schnickel faces charges that accuse him of sexually assaulting girls he met on social media sites while working as a police officer. He 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.
Among the details in the Anoka County 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.
Authorities said when Schnickel figured out that police were investigating him in January, 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.”
Schnickel made his first appearance in court Thursday afternoon. An omnibus hearing is set for May 22.