Dr. Bruce Hensel, an Emmy-winning former television medical correspondent in Los Angeles and New York City, was arrested Wednesday for allegedly asking a 9-year-old girl to send him sexually suggestive photos.
Hensel, 71, was detained about 10:15 a.m. by Los Angeles Police Department Juvenile Division investigators in the 9600 block of Santa Monica Boulevard, near Rodeo Drive in Beverly Hills, according to the Los Angeles Police Department. Jail records show Hensel was booked around noon, with his bail set at $5,000.
Hensel posted bail and was released at 6:35 p.m., according to sheriff’s inmate records.
According to the District Attorney’s Office, Hensel was charged Wednesday with one felony count of contact with a minor for sexual purposes. Prosecutors said Hensel allegedly contacted the girl — the daughter of an acquaintance — on Aug. 4 using an online messaging app and asked her to send him suggestive photos.
An arraignment date has not been set.
“Dr. Hensel is completely innocent of the charge,” said Hensel’s attorney Steve Sitkoff. “We are cooperating with the authorities and look forward to a speedy and complete exoneration.”
LAPD officials said investigators with the Los Angeles Regional Internet Crimes Against Children Task Force served a search warrant at Hensel’s Pacific Palisades home on Oct. 16. Police said the investigation focused on “inappropriate messages and photographs” being shared “between a child and a person believed to be Bruce Hensel.”
If convicted as charged, Hensel faces up to 18 months in prison, according to the District Attorney’s Office.
According to an online biography, Hensel won multiple Emmy Awards while serving as chief medical correspondent for NBC4. He recently produced and directed a documentary for the premium cable network Showtime titled “Beyond the Opposite Sex,” focused on transgender relationships.
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