Former Minneapolis police officer Bradley Schnickel pleaded guilty Thursday to sending nude photographs of himself to two teenage girls in Hennepin County and will serve a year in the county workhouse.
But Schnickel’s legal battles are not over. He faces multiple charges in Anoka County for allegedly using social media to try to lure girls into sexual encounters. Authorities say he had sex with two of them.
The two felony counts to which Schnickel pleaded guilty Thursday each carry a maximum sentence of three years in prison. A spokesman for County Attorney Mike Freeman said that the plea agreement was standard and that there is now justice for each of the victims, both under age 16. This will also set the stage for the cases pending in Anoka County, said the spokesman, Charles Laszewski.
When Fred Bruno, Schnickel’s attorney, reviewed the plea agreement in court, he asked Schnickel if he was admitting guilt to the charges or “just wanting to get it over with.” Schnickel said he was admitting guilt.
Schnickel and Bruno declined to comment after the hearing. He will be sentenced Aug. 27.
Schnickel, 32, of Andover, was fired from the Minneapolis Police Department in February, and he doesn’t plan to appeal his firing.
Bruno said in court Thursday that he would be litigating law enforcement’s search and seizure of evidence from Schnickel’s home at Schnickel’s next hearing in the Anoka County cases, scheduled for October. Laszewski said Bruno’s stance on that subject had no impact on the Hennepin County attorney’s decision to Later Thursday, Anoka County Attorney Tony Palumbo said his office will continue to vigorously pursue the charges his office filed against Schnickel.
Schnickel was initially arrested in February and accused of sending explicit online messages to four girls in Anoka County and having sex with one of them.
Further charges involving 14 other Anoka County girls were filed in May. Schnickel is accused of having sex with one other girl, allowing another to perform oral sex on him and supplying or offering alcohol to several girls.
Court documents allege that he approached girls on social media, identifying himself as “Brady Schmidt” and portraying himself as younger than he is.
Anoka County prosecutors have said that some of the girls allegedly contacted by Schnickel online were preadolescent.
On Tuesday, the Anoka County Attorney’s Office filed a motion claiming that Schnickel had violated his bail conditions, which prohibit him from having unsupervised contact with minors. Schnickel is now working as a security guard, and Palumbo’s office received information from Minneapolis police that during a recent on-duty incident in that job he went into a Minneapolis apartment where a 14-year-old girl was present. The motion is under advisement.
Schnickel is married and has two young daughters. His wife sat in the gallery during Thursday’s short hearing, which resolved charges that were filed in April.
David Chanen • 612-673-4465