Former police officer pleads guilty to criminal sexual conduct with minors

A former Andover resident and Minneapolis police officer admitted guilt Monday, Feb. 10, in Anoka County District Court to criminal sexual conduct and attempted criminal sexual conduct with minors.

Bradley James Schnickel

Bradley James Schnickel

Bradley James Schnickel, 33, will be sentenced May 12 and plead guilty at that time to three counts of third-degree criminal sexual conduct and two counts of engaging in electronic communications with minors that described sexual conduct, according to Amanda Vickstrom of the Anoka County Attorney’s Office.

According to the criminal complaint, Schnickel had sex multiple times with a 16-year-old Coon Rapids girl at a park or her home when her parents were gone during the summer of 2011. On four occasions between August 2010 and June 2011, he used his Minneapolis police officer resources  to look up information on the girl and her family. This unauthorized access of the Minnesota Drivers and Vehicle Services website could have let him find their home address and dates of birth, for example.

He also put his hand under a 17-year-old girl’s shirt and bra after he picked her up near Lifetime Fitness in Coon Rapids, according to the complaint.

Authorities first became aware of Schnickel’s alleged misconduct in October 2012 when a 14-year-old girl told the Brooklyn Center Police Department about sexually explicit conversations with a man she knew from Facebook as Brady Schmidt, according to the complaint. Authorities combed through thousands of pages of Facebook conversations and discovered the illegal activity.

Schnickel was fired Feb. 9, 2013, from the Minneapolis Police Department, according to a department spokesperson, which was the same day he was arraigned in Anoka County District Court.

He was charged in April 2013 by the Hennepin County Attorney’s Office. He was sentenced to one year in the Hennepin County workhouse after pleading guilty last summer to sending nude photographs of himself to teenage girls.

“This is a horrible situation where the defendant’s actions affected many lives and has led to serious impacts to these young families,” Anoka County Attorney Tony Palumbo said in a statement. “I hope today’s admission of guilt helps them begin to recover from this devastating situation.”

Palumbo went on to state, “This situation reinforces the need for us as parents to talk to our children about online safety, to remember that the Internet is a pathway into our homes, and that predators are looking for their next victim online.”

Eric Hagen is at eric.hagen@ecm-inc.com

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