Niles employee on leave, charged with enticing minor to engage in illegal sexual activity
A city of Niles employee is on administrative leave on January 8, the same day federal prosecutors in Florida filed a criminal complaint against him. He is accused of asking a 16-year old girl to engage in illegal sexual activity and transferring obscene matter to a minor, according to court records.
Brian Wayne Schmuhl used the alias Kevin Hansen and Bigfireman69x to communicate with the teen via the Kik app, reports said.
During a forensic search of the victim's phone, federal officers said they found the following communication between October 18, 2018 and November 24, 2018, according to the probable cause affidavit:
- Hansen asked the victim to "say something naughty" and said he wanted her to say she wanted to engage in oral sex with him. He also referenced her age as being 15.
- Hansen told the victim he wanted to show her his genitals
- Hansen referenced wanting to take the victim's 'vcard'
- Hansen explicitly detailed wanting to have sex with the victim
In May 2019, an officer created a fake account of a 12-year-old girl on the Kik app and contacted Bigfireman69x, reports said.
For several months, the suspect maintained contact and the discussion included sexually explicit messages between the undercover officer and Bigfireman69x.
Bigfireaman69x allegedly sent the undercover officer photos of his genitals along with videos of adults engaging in sexually explicit conduct, reports said.
The suspect told the undercover officer he worked for a fire department and that he was an EMT who was going through college to earn his paramedic's license, according to the probable cause affidavit.
He also sent several pictures of a man in a fire department shirt to the undercover officer, but did not include his face, reports said.
In September 2019, officers served a subpoena to Kik requesting subscriber information for Bigfireman69x.
The company identified two IP addresses the account holder used.
The first IP address was identified as a Comcast customer and after receiving a subpoena, Comcast identified that subscriber as Brian Schmuhl, according to the probable cause affidavit.
Investigators also compared the logo in the photos sent to the undercover officer to the logo of the Niles Fire Department and they appeared to be the same.
The second IP address was identified as the City of Niles.
On January 8, 2020, a federal search warrant was executed on Schmuhl's residence, person and vehicle.
A search of his cell phone revealed the photo used on the profile of Bigfireman69x on Kik, pictures that matched those sent to the victim and the undercover officer, according to the probable cause affidavit.
Schmuhl was interviewed by investigators and allegedly admitted to sending the sexually explicit photos to the victim and the undercover officer, that he works for the Niles Fire Department, used the Kik account Bigfireman69x, asked for and received sexually explicit pictures from the victim, held sexually explicit conversations with the victim and the undercover officer knowing they were minors and that he sent pornographic videos to the victim and the undercover officer, according to the probable cause affidavit.
The city of Niles confirmed an employee was placed on administrative leave on January 8 pending the outcome of an investigation.
A City of Niles employee was placed on administrative leave on January 8, 2020 pending further investigation by the City into potential misconduct. As always, the City of Niles is committed to a full and fair investigation that will afford this employee with all appropriate and important due process to which the employee is entitled as we review the existence or extent of any misconduct. This investigation should not distract from the excellent and professional service our employees provide to the citizens of the City of Niles.