Niles: Man charged with soliciting minor still being paid
NILES, Mich. -- Allegations of soliciting a minor are rattling the Niles Fire Department after one of its own was reportedly caught pursuing underage girls on a messaging app.
Firefighter Brian Wayne Schmuhl remains on paid leave after prosecutors say he admitted to making extreme sexual advances online with an underage girl in addition to sending explicit pictures.
The allegations pile up to federal charges, stemming from the U.S. District Court’s Ft. Lauderdale, Fla. branch, near where the alleged victim lives.
Authorities said Schmuhl and a 15 year old girl exchanged inappropriate messages and pictures for over a year.
Only after reportedly doing the same with an undercover agent acting as a 12-year old girl was Schmuhl taken in on January 8, admitted to the claims, and posted a $10,000 bond.
Marilyn Barbour, a neighbor of Schmuhl’s in Niles, said she has no sympathy for the firefighter and wants the focus to be on keeping girls safe.
“I just would teach them what to look out for,” Barbour said.
“I just think the guy should go to jail for life, you know? Because once they start doing this kind of stuff they don’t stop. It’s habitual.”
According to Niles city officials, Schmuhl is on paid administrative leave until an internal investigation is declared finished.