Minneapolis cop suspected of sexual assault

Jake Stark

A Minneapolis police officer was arrested and accused of sexually assaulting several underage girls Wednesday.

Bradley Schnickel, 32, is being held in the Anoka County Jail on suspicion of first-degree criminal sexual conduct. He has not been charged.

Police suspect Schnickel of developing online relationships with girls between the ages of 12 and 14. He is accused of scheduling meetings with the girls and then having sex with them

The Brooklyn Center Police Department began investigating Schnickel after receiving a complaint from a parent who said the person’s daughter had been receiving inappropriate messages from Schnickel on a social media site.

The Minneapolis Police Department has begun an internal affairs investigation on Schnickel, who has worked as a patrol officer since 2008.

Minneapolis police Chief Janee Harteau said in a statement that her department is working with the Anoka County Sheriff's Department on the investigation.

"If the alleged criminal charges are true, it is horrific and goes against everything the Minneapolis Police Department stands for," Harteau said. "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."

The sheriff's office said Schnickel is alleged to have sexual contact with at least three girls, but that number could grow as the investigation continues.