A Mandan police officer placed on administrative leave earlier this week has been fired and charged with felony sex crimes for allegedly using a hidden cellphone to film a minor in a bathroom.
Scott Warzecha, 45, faces one count of using a minor in a sexual performance and two counts of surreptitious intrusion, Mandan Deputy Chief Lori Flaten said Wednesday. A conviction on the most serious charge could send Warzecha to prison for as much as 20 years.
The Morton County Sheriff's Office on Saturday responded to a 911 call stating Warzecha was threatening to harm himself, according to an affidavit from North Dakota Bureau of Criminal Investigation Special Agent Timothy Helmer. Warzecha's 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.
Court records show McLean County State's Attorney Ladd Erickson will prosecute the case. No attorney is listed for Warzecha, for whom an arrest warrant was issued.
The Morton County Sheriff’s Office initiated an investigation on Saturday and later requested assistance from BCI, Flaten said. Based on those findings, the Mandan department conducted an internal investigation and determined Warzecha’s actions violated department policy.
Warzecha was terminated Wednesday, Flaten said.
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.
Reach Travis Svihovec at 701-250-8260 or Travis.Svihovec@bismarcktribune.com