Updated: June 16, 2020 06:05 PM
Created: June 16, 2020 04:15 PM
A Minnesota state trooper is on leave, pending investigations by the State Patrol and the Bureau of Criminal Apprehension (BCA), accused of texting himself nude photos of a woman he arrested for drunk driving in March.
According to a search warrant application filed by the BCA, the unidentified woman said 36 year-old Trooper Albert Kuehne seized her iPhone during a DUI arrest and when she got the phone back, three nude photos of herself had been sent to a number she did not recognize.
Despite initially denying the allegation, the warrant says Kuehne later admitted to sending the nude photos to his personal cell phone.
When contacted by 5 INVESTIGATES on the phone Tuesday, Kuehne said "I really don't have anything to say about it," before hanging up.
Kuehne has not been criminally charged, however, the BCA says its investigation is ongoing.
Minneapolis defense attorney Bruce Rivers, who is not involved in the case, says the trooper could face a felony charge of "unauthorized access" or a number of other violations, including nonconsensual dissemination of private sexual images.
"One of the things about computer cases: they're data driven. So, they're not like I can say, 'I was in Detroit and it didn't happen.' The records are what they are," Rivers said.
The Minnesota State Patrol confirmed it placed Kuehne on "investigatory leave" on May 20, the same day BCA agents said they came to speak with the trooper at a State Patrol office in Golden Valley.
"The alleged conduct outlined in this complaint is reprehensible and inconsistent with the core values of the Minnesota State Patrol. We hold troopers to a high standard and will take appropriate action regarding this matter," said State Patrol Colonel Matt Langer in a statement e-mailed to 5 EYEWITNESS NEWS.
Public records show Kuehne has been with the State Patrol for three years and has served in the U.S. Army Reserve since 2003. The State Patrol reported no other past complaints or disciplinary action involving Kuehne.
The BCA warrant identified the attorney for the woman involved as Mark Kallenbach. He declined to comment on the case Tuesday evening, but Rivers says the woman could have grounds for a civil rights lawsuit.
"For the officer to even be able to access her phone, even under a lawful arrest, he'd have to go get a search warrant to look in that phone," Rivers said. "Right now, it's a very difficult time to be a police officer. And for you to be a police officer abusing your position right now is not a position I'd like a client of mine to be in."
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