Dr. Bruce Hensel, an Emmy-winning former medical correspondent for NBC4, was arrested Wednesday on suspicion of contacting a 9-year-old girl for sexual purposes, authorities said.
Hensel, 71, of Pacific Palisades, was arrested at 10:15 a.m. in the 9600 block of Santa Monica Boulevard and was held at the LA County Jail on $5,000 bail.
Hensel faces one felony count of contact with a minor for sexual purposes, prosecutors said.
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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, prosecutors said.
Investigators with the Los Angeles Regional Internet Crimes Against Children Task Force served a search warrant at Hensel's home on Oct. 16, officials said.
The case focused on inappropriate messages and photographs being shared between a child and a person believed to be Hensel, police said in a news release.
Hensel was in the Beverly Hills area to have breakfast when he was suddenly arrested. His attorney, Steve Sitkoff, said that they were not aware that an arrest was going to be made, and that Hensel was cooperating.
"We are cooperating fully with the authorities and we are looking forward to a speedy and complete exoneration," Sitkoff said.
Hensel was the chief health, medical and science editor and correspondent for NBC4. He joined the station in 1987.
Hensel is a practicing physician who is board certified in two specialties, internal medicine and emergency medicine.
In addition to his work at NBC4 and being a practicing physician, Hensel was a radio talk show host, author, documentary film producer, a magazine contributing editor and a former actor.
Last year he was the executive producer of a show called "Beyond The Opposite Sex" on Showtime.
Hensel began his career in broadcasting in 1981 when he produced a show called "Medical Minutes" while still completing his internship and residency training at Wadsworth Veterans Administration Hospital at UCLA, according to his online bio on NBCLA.
A graduate of UCLA with a bachelor's in political theory, Hensel also studied journalism at both UCLA and Columbia University and attended medical school at Columbia University's College of Physcians and Surgeons, his bio said.
NBC has attempted to reach Hensel for comment.