Dr. Bruce Hensel, a former TV medical correspondent, was arrested Wednesday morning after he asked a 9-year-old girl to send him sexually suggestive pictures, according to prosecutors and law enforcement.
Hensel, who was the on-air chief medical correspondent for NBC in Los Angeles and New York, was charged with one felony count of contact with a minor for sexual purposes, which stems from him requesting images from the daughter of an acquaintance through an online messaging app on or about Aug. 4, according to the Los Angeles County district attorney’s office.
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.
Hensel was booked into the Los Angeles Police Department’s Metropolitan Detention Center, and his bail was set at $5,000.
Hensel’s arraignment will be scheduled at a later date. If convicted as charged, Hensel faces a possible maximum sentence of 18 months in state prison.
Hensel joined NBC4 in June 1987 and wrote multiple investigative stories, according to his biography. In his 13 years at NBC4, Hensel won several awards and was the co-host of the series “Health Fax” in 1988.
He has also served as co-director of two emergency rooms in Southern California, Century City Hospital and San Dimas Community Hospital, according to his bio.