More charges coming for ex-cop who sexted Jackson Twp. girl

Liz Evans Scolforo
York Dispatch
Nicholas Bonsall

A former Baltimore County police officer who served time in York County Prison for sexting a 16-year-old neighbor with whom he was having sex will soon be charged again for allegedly having more contact with the same teen.

Nicholas C. Bonsall, 41, formerly of Jackson Township but recently of the 1400 block of Monroe Street in West York, appeared in York County Court on Monday, Jan. 28, for a probation-violation hearing.

Presiding Common Pleas Judge Gregory M. Snyder was expected to determine whether Bonsall violated his probation conditions. The judge could have sentenced him to additional prison time.

But at the hearing, defense attorney Dean Reynosa asked for a continuance, saying that more charges are expected to be filed.

Senior deputy prosecutor Kara Bowser confirmed that an investigation into Bonsall's actions ended just hours before Monday's hearing and that charges will be filed this week related to Bonsall's 16-year-old victim being found in his home during a probation home check.

No further charges had been filed by Wednesday, Jan. 30.

Bonsall's probation conditions forbid him from having any contact with the teen or with any minor.

Snyder rescheduled the probation-violation hearing for 9 a.m. March 25.

Bonsall remains in York County Prison on a violation detainer filed by a county probation officer.

The background: York County probation officers conducted an unannounced visit at Bonsall's West York apartment Aug. 15 and discovered Bonsall's sexting victim was there with him, court records state.

"The victim's clothing and personal belongings were scattered throughout the apartment — including in the defendant's bedroom," according to a probation/parole petition seeking to have Bonsall's parole revoked. It also states: 

"Mr. Bonsall admitted that the victim had been staying with him for the past three days and that she had told her (guardian) that she was with friends. York County Detectives are conducting a search of (Bonsall's) cell phones and there is potential for new charges to be filed."

Bonsall was arrested that day and has been held in York County Prison since Aug. 16, according to prison records.

Lost job, marriage: Bonsall lost his 15-year job as a Baltimore County cop after he was arrested for sending photos of his penis and a video of himself masturbating to the then-16-year-old girl.

At the time, Bonsall was a detective first class, was married with two young children and lived in Jackson Township. 

Before being arrested again, he worked as a truck driver, lived in an apartment paid for by his father and is allowed only supervised visits with his children, court records state.

Because Bonsall's victim was 16 when they started having sex, and because she consented, the sexual contact itself was not a crime.

In Pennsylvania, minors who are 16 and 17 years old can legally consent to having sex with adults as long as those adults have no position of authority over them.

'Groomed' an orphan: It was the texting of sexually explicit photos that was illegal and for which Bonsall "was given a very brief jail sentence" to spare the victim from having to testify against him, according to the probation/parole petition.

It also states that the victim is an orphan and that Bonsall "groomed and then engaged in sexual relations with a vulnerable child who lost (both parents)."

He "took advantage of that emotional void and abused his position of authority" by targeting her for sex, according to the petition.

The petition also notes that while Bonsall has attended court-required sex-offender treatment, he "had not yet made any notable progress" at the time of his arrest.

Guilty plea: Bonsall pleaded guilty to the third-degree felony of disseminating sexually explicit materials on Jan. 29, 2018, and was sentenced to three to 23 months in York County Prison.

During that hearing, he told the presiding judge he couldn't really remember what explicit photos he had texted to the girl but said they came from the internet.

He neglected to mention that some of the photos were of his own penis, which is made clear in court documents. Those documents state he also sent the girl video of himself masturbating.

The girl wrote a victim-impact letter to the court stating she had forgiven him.

"Deep down, I know he is a good man," she wrote, adding "everyone deserves a second chance."

Friend alerted cops: Northern York County Regional Police began investigating Bonsall in April 2017, after the 16-year-old victim's friend alerted them to a sexual relationship between the girl and Bonsall, according to court documents.

Police interviewed the teen, who said she and Bonsall started having contact through social media sites Facebook and Snapchat in June 2016 and that they started sending nude photos of themselves to each other when she was 15 years old.

The two had daily contact, according to police, including before he left for work and late at night in his driveway.

"Bonsall would inform her when his wife was not home so they could meet up," police wrote in court documents.

— Reach Liz Evans Scolforo at or on Twitter at @LizScolforoYD.