Dr. Bruce Hensel, a multiple local Emmy winner and former longtime medical correspondent for KNBC-TV newscasts in Los Angeles, is facing a felony child sexual-exploitation charge for asking a 9-year-old girl to send him sexually suggestive pictures, the Los Angeles County District Attorney’s Office said.
The former part-time actor who’s now an independent writer and producer is charged with requesting the images from the daughter of an acquaintance through a messaging app on or about August 4, prosecutors said.
The Los Angeles Police Department said Hensel, 71, was arrested Wednesday morning in Beverly Hills and charged with contact with a minor for sexual purposes. He was released from the LAPD’s Metropolitan Detention Center around 5 p.m. after posting $5,000 bail. No court date was announced.
If convicted as charged, Hensel faces a possible maximum sentence of 18 months in state prison, the D.A.’s Office said.
Members of the Los Angeles Regional Internet Crimes Against Children Task Force served a search warrant at Hensel’s Pacific Palisades home on October 16. Because the contact with the minor was made by way of the internet, detectives from the Internet Crimes Against Children unit are leading the investigation.
A practicing physician who is board certified in internal medicine and emergency medicine, Hensel joined the KNBC news team in 1987 and worked there for several years. It’s unclear when he left the station, but he won a Los Angeles Area Emmy Award with the station in 2014. He also is an author and has been a radio talk show host and magazine contributing editor. According to IMDb, he has produced a handful of TV documentaries and appeared it bit roles in Death Wish 4: The Crackdown (1987) and the 1980s TV series Capitol.
He has received numerous L.A. Area Emmy Awards, including for the programs local area Emmys for the series Health Fax (1988) and the specials 4 Your Health, Bioterrorism: Lines of Defense (2001) and Autism: The Hidden Epidemic (2005).
David A. Robb contributed to this report.