1. Pinellas

Second arrest for Pinellas man accused of sex abuse against mental health patients

A 35-year-old mental health worker arrested and fired in March on charges of sexually abusing three female patients is in jail again.

According to Pinellas Park police, Nicholai Anthony Brief had sex with a woman staying at Pinellas Enrichment Through Mental Health Services while he was employed there in December, then photographed another who was topless while sleeping in February.

The St. Petersburg man was jailed Wednesday on charges of sexual misconduct and video voyeurism, records show, and remained in Pinellas County Jail on Thursday afternoon.

The incidents he faces new charges for happened within days or weeks of those police arrested him for on March 15. It was not immediately clear why the charges came at different times, but Captain Adam Geissenberger said it is because local police might have had to reach out to another state agency for help.

"Not that that's any excuse for the amount of time it took," he added.

Brief had been out of jail since June 11, when he posted $6,500 bail, jail records show. For that arrest, he faces charges of sexual battery and lewd and lascivious molestation committed against an elderly or disabled person.

RELATED: Pinellas Park mental health staffer sexually abused patients, police say

He worked as a "caretaker" at the mental health center, located on the 11200 block of 58th Street N. in Pinellas Park. The nonprofit provides crisis stabilization for children and adults and is licensed to admit those held under the Baker Act, the state law that allows a person to be held for a mental health evaluation when they are deemed a threat. The facility also serves people who are considered indigent and may not have access to care in other hospitals, records show.

After Brief's arrest in March, police said he was "in a position of trust or authority" over the first three victims. Police said he groped one and asked her for explicit photos in October. Police said he forced another into a dark room where he sexually battered her in January.

In February, just two days before photographing the sleeping patient, police said he groped a sleeping patient, warning her not to tell anyone. It is not clear whether any of the incidents involve the same woman.

Times staff writer Romy Ellenbogen contributed to this report. Contact Megan Reeves at Follow @mareevs.