A former NBC correspondent who spent 29 years with the network has been arrested and charged with allegedly asking a 9-year-old girl to send him sexually explicit photos.
Dr. Bruce Hensel, 71, who won an Emmy as medical correspondent for NBC, was charged Wednesday with asking the daughter of a friend for the photos, the Los Angeles Times reported.
Hensel, who worked for NBC New York and Los Angeles, faces one felony count of “contact with a minor for sexual purposes.” The contact occurred through an online messaging app on or about Aug. 4, police said.
Investigators from the Los Angeles Police Department’s northeast division started a child sexual exploitation investigation involving the 9-year-old after inappropriate messages and photographs were shared between the child and Hensel, according to the LAPD. Since Hensel contacted the child online, detectives with the Internet Crimes Against Children division assumed responsibility of the investigation.
About 1:30 p.m. On Oct. 16, personnel from the Los Angeles Regional Internet Crimes Against Children task force served a search warrant at Hensel’s home in the 17500 block of Tramonto Drive in Pacific Palisades. About 10:15 a.m. Wednesday, Hensel was arrested in the 9600 block of Santa Monica Boulevard in connection with the investigation.
He was booked into the Los Angeles Police Department’s Metropolitan Detention Center with bail was set at $5,000. His arraignment has not yet been set.
His lawyer, Steve Sitkoff, said his arrest came as a surprise.
“We are cooperating fully with the authorities and we are looking forward to a speedy and complete exoneration,” Sitkoff told NBC4 in Los Angeles, which Hensel joined in 1987.
He also said Hensel “is completely innocent of the charge. We are cooperating with the authorities and look forward to a speedy and complete exoneration,” CBS-LA reported.