ANOKA, Minn. - Investigators say a Minneapolis police officer faces charges of criminal sexual conduct involving a number of female juvenile victims.
The Anoka County Sheriff's Office and Minneapolis Police have identified the officer as 32-year-old Bradley James Schnickel, a husband and father.Schnickel, a resident of Andover, was arrested February 6 for first degree sexual conduct.
"The investigation started several weeks ago," said Commander Paul Sommer, Anoka County Sheriff's Department.
Investigators were alerted by Brooklyn Center police that the suspect had been using social media to contact a female child with inappropriate messages.
"Our detectives began an investigation on this individual," said Sommer, "subpeoning various records from social media sites and that resulted in about 9,000 pages of data."
The widening investigation soon identified what authorities say are multiple juvenile female victims. Allegations against Schnickel include sexual contact and penetration of victims.
"The allegations that we forwarded to the County Attorney's office include sexual intercourse," said Sommer.
Minneapolis Police Chief Janee Harteau ordered an internal affairs investigation immediately upon hearing the allegations against officer Schnickel and placed him on administrative leave.
"If the alleged criminal charges are true, it is horrific and goes against everything the Minneapolis Police Department represents, our core values and our mission," Harteau said in a written statement. "This should not reflect upon the women and men of this department, who truly want to serve this community with integrity. Our community deserves better and the members of this department deserve better. We must have public trust to effectively serve our communities and I will decisively take action whenever that is jeopardized."
Anoka County prosecutors are currently reviewing the case for charges including First Degree Criminal Sexual Conduct and Solicitation of a minor for sex, according to Sommer.
Schnickel was arrested without incident at his home in Andover, according to Sommer. Schnickelhas been "invoking his right" not to speak to investigators, while in custody in the Anoka County jail. He is being kept separate from other prisoners, as is common in cases involving police officers accused of a crime.
A computer search reveals that the accused officer was awarded a medal of commendation in 2011 by the Minneapolis Police Department. From June of 2005 to December, 2007, Schnickel was employed as a police officer in Glencoe.