Dr. Bruce Hensel, an Emmy-winning former television medical correspondent in Los Angeles and New York City, pleaded no contest Monday to a felony charge that alleged he asked an acquaintance’s 9-year-old daughter to send him sexually suggestive photos.
Hensel, 74, was immediately sentenced to two years probation and ordered to register as a sex offender following his plea to contact with a minor for a sexual purpose, according to Deputy District Attorney Angela Brunson.
Hensel said during the hearing that he is “terribly sorry for what happened” and has “done everything I can to understand this isolated thing,” the Los Angeles Times reported.
The girl’s father — who said Hensel had “crossed the line and violated the vow of your profession, which is to cause no harm” — hugged Hensel and offered his forgiveness, according to the newspaper.
Hensel was charged in November 2019 with contacting the girl and requesting the images on or about Aug. 4, 2019, using an online messaging app.
Hensel was arrested in Beverly Hills in November 2019 by Los Angeles police and was released that evening after posting $5,000 bond.
LAPD officials said shortly after his arrest that investigators with the Los Angeles Regional Internet Crimes Against Children Task Force had served a search warrant at Hensel’s home. Police said the investigation focused on “inappropriate messages and photographs” being shared “between a child and a person believed to be Bruce Hensel.”
According to an online biography, Hensel won multiple Emmy Awards while serving as chief medical correspondent for NBC4. He also produced and directed a documentary for the premium cable network Showtime titled “Beyond the Opposite Sex,” focused on transgender relationships.