PINELLAS PARK – A Florida man is accused of sexually abusing three patients at a mental health facility where he worked over a span of four months.
Nicholai Anthony Brief, 34, was arrested Thursday on one count of sexual battery and three counts of lewd and lascivious molestation committed against an elderly or disabled person.
Investigators said Brief worked in a caretaker role at the Personal Enrichment Through Mental Health Services non-profit in Pinellas Park, where he was in a position of trust or authority over his three alleged victims.
The first incidents occurred on October 9 and 10, according to an arrest affadavit obtained by the Tampa Bay Times, when Brief allegedly entered a patient's room and groped her. Police said Brief denied touching the patient, but did admit to messaging her on Facebook and asking for sexually explicit photos. The affidavit noted that Brief should have known the patient lacked the capacity to consent to sexual activity.
The second incident occurred January 2, police said. Brief was admitting a patient into the facility when he allegedly grabbed her by the arm and forced her into a dark room where he sexually battered her.
The third incident took place February 14 when Brief allegedly groped a sleeping patient and warned her, "You’re not going to tell anyone, are you?”
Brief was booked into the Pinellas County Jail where he is being held on $65,000 bail, officials said.
Records obtained by the Tampa Bay Times showed that Brief had been arrested in 2016 on a felony charge of domestic battery by strangulation and tampering with a witness. Both charges were later dropped.
The facility's lawyers said Brief's application was reviewed by the Florida Department of Children and Families, and he was deemed eligible for employment.