A former Mandan police officer charged with child sex crimes had bond set at $5,000 during his initial court appearance Thursday afternoon.
Scott Warzecha, 45, is charged with three felonies for allegedly using a hidden cellphone to film a minor. The charges followed an investigation by the Morton County Sheriff’s Office and the North Dakota Bureau of Investigation. He was fired from the Mandan police force on Wednesday.
Warzecha is being held in the McLean County Jail and made his court appearance by video. Court records on Wednesday showed a warrant had been issued for his arrest. McLean County Jail officials confirmed Thursday morning that Warzecha had been arrested in Morton County on Wednesday. McLean County State’s Attorney Ladd Erickson is handling the prosecution of the case.
The $5,000 cash bail set by South Central District Judge Daniel Borgen was the amount agreed upon by Erickson and defense attorney Justin Vinje. Warzecha is prohibited from having contact with the minor involved in the alleged video recordings but will be allowed to travel in North Dakota. Warzecha intends to live in the eastern part of the state, Vinje told the judge.
Vinje when contacted by the Tribune for comment called the allegations against Warzecha "surprising."
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"Mr. Warzecha was a veteran officer with the Mandan Police Department, and I worked with him a number of times over the years," Vinje said. "He always struck me as a dedicated professional, and I believe that it is very important for us to remember the presumption of innocence here."
The Morton County Sheriff's Office on Saturday responded to a 911 call stating Warzecha was threatening to harm himself, according to a BCI affidavit. His actions followed the discovery of his alleged use of a cellphone to record video of a person under the age of 18, in an incident that was not work-related, police said. A second video recording incident was reported to police during the investigation, the affidavit states.
The 13-year police veteran was the handler of the Mandan department’s first K-9, Kupper. The dog joined the department in August 2019.