Florida man accused of sexually assaulting three patients at a mental health clinic for over four months
34-year-old Nicholai Anthony Brief has been charged with one count of sexual battery, and three counts of lewd and lascivious molestation committed against an elderly or disabled person.
A Florida mental health worker who sexually abused three of his patients over four months at the facility he worked has been arrested on one count of sexual battery, and three counts of lewd and lascivious molestation committed against an elderly or disabled person.
According to the Tampa Bay Times, 34-year-old Nicholai Anthony Brief abused the victims while working at a non-profit organization Personal Enrichment Through Mental Health Services located on the 11200 block of 58th Street N in Pinellas Park. All three victims were described as “elderly or disabled” adult women.
The investigation into Brief began when Pinellas Park Police received a report on Thursday, March 14, that a staff member at the facility had engaged in non-consensual sexual activity with three of his patients.
Police said Brief worked at the facility in a "caretaker" role and was described as a "tech" who was in a "position of authority" over all three victims. Brief was arrested at his St. Petersburg home on the same day, with an affidavit detailing his crimes. It said that on October 9 and 10, he entered a patient's room and groped her.
When questioned, he denied the accusation but did admit to messaging her on Facebook and asking her to send sexually explicit photos and for her to expose herself. The affidavit noted that he should have known the patient lacked the mental capacity to consent to sexual activity.
He allegedly abused the second patient on January 2 at 11 pm when he was admitting her to the facility. The affidavit states he grabbed her by the arm, forced her into a dark room, and proceeded to sexually batter her. The third incident took place on Valentine's Day, once again at around 11 pm. On that occasion, he is said to have groped a sleeping patient and then warned her to keep quiet, telling her, "You're not going to tell anyone, are you?"
Following his arrest, the facility said Brief had been fired and they only hired him after his application had been reviewed by the Florida Department of Children and Families, who put him "through a vetting process and deemed him eligible for employment."
A company statement obtained by the Tampa Bay Times read, "(The facility) has a strict protocol in place regarding any and all reports of this nature, takes these reports seriously, and condemns this type of alleged behavior. Once (the facility) became aware of these claims, it opened an immediate investigation regarding the incident, terminated Mr. Brief’s employment, and promptly notified appropriate officials."
This is not the first time that Brief has run into trouble with the law either. He was reportedly arrested in October 2016 by the Clearwater police on a felony charge of domestic battery by strangulation and tampering with a witness, though both charges were later dropped.
Brief is currently being held at the Pinellas County Jail on a $65,000 bond.