Ex-cop pleads guilty for 2nd time to 'sexting' same teen victim in York County

Liz Evans Scolforo
York Dispatch
Nicholas Bonsall

A former Baltimore County detective who spent time in prison for "sexting" the 16-year-old neighbor girl with whom he was having an affair has now pleaded guilty to committing more crimes against her.

This time around, Nicholas Bonsall's victim had very different things to say about him in court.

The young woman — who was still 17 when Bonsall was released from county prison and resumed having sex with her — cried in York County Court on Monday, Aug. 26, as she spoke.

"I once trusted you. I really did believe you were a good guy ... I believed you cared about me," she told Bonsall. "You were the first person I ever loved."

She said she should not have had to go through what she did because of Bonsall's acts against her, which started when she was 15. She said she should have known better and called herself stupid for trusting him.

"You have taken so much from me," she said. "I just want my life back ... the way I was before."

The young woman said she's sick of hearing neighbors' hateful comments toward her.

"I'm tired of getting blamed for it every time I walk down the street," she said. "I am tired of everyone saying it's my fault."

Judge Harry M. Ness said her name quietly after she finished speaking. When she looked up at him, he told her firmly, "It's not your fault."

It caused the young woman to burst into fresh tears.

Guilty plea: Bonsall pleaded guilty Monday to the second-degree felony of unlawful contact with a minor for the sexting, as well as the first-degree misdemeanor of corruption of a minor.

As part of his negotiated plea agreement, he must spend a year minus a day to two years minus two days in York County Prison, plus be on probation for five years after his release, senior deputy prosecutor Erin Kraska said in court.

He could not be sentenced on Monday because the plea requires him to undergo a sexual offender evaluation by a state board as part of Megan's Law prior to sentencing, to determine if he should be deemed a sexually violent predator.

That state board, in evaluating Bonsall for his first conviction, noted he should not be given the sexual-predator designation. 

Ness set Bonsall's sentencing hearing for the morning of Nov. 25.

Nicholas Bonsall

Bonsall has been in York County Prison since Aug. 16, 2018, on a probation violation in his first criminal case.

None of the charges was for Bonsall having sex with the teen, since the legal age of consent in Pennsylvania is 16. Rather, each charge was tied to Bonsall possessing sexually explicit photos of the girl and encouraging her to send him those photos, according to court documents.

It's an exchange known as sexting.

Bonsall's first criminal case in York County was also for sexting back and forth with the girl, for which he pleaded guilty in January 2018 and was sentenced to three to 23 months in York County Prison, followed by three years' probation.

The background: After Bonsall served his time and was released, he moved from Jackson Township, where he lived with his wife and children, to an apartment in West York.

York County probation officers found the teen during an unannounced visit to Bonsall's apartment Aug. 15, 2018, and found her clothing strewn around the home, including in his bedroom, according to court documents.

More:Ex-cop back in jail for illegal tryst with teen sexting victim

More:Ex-cop back in jail for illegal tryst with teen sexting victim

"They had numerous consensual sexual encounters and Bonsall told (her) to send him sexually explicit photos of herself," documents state.

"Bonsall promised (the teen) they would get married and have children," court documents state.

He and the teen sent each other nude photos, including of their genitals, as well as sexually explicit texts, documents state.

Bonsall's probation-violation petition noted the girl is an orphan and states Bonsall "took advantage of that emotional void and abused his position of authority" by targeting her for sex and "grooming" her.

He was a detective first class and had been with Baltimore County Police for 15 years when he was arrested the first time. He was fired after the charges were filed.

His teen victim wrote an impact statement for Bonsall's 2018 sentencing hearing, saying she believed he was a good man and that "everyone deserves a second chance."

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