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Menomonie is the county seat of Dunn County, located in western Wisconsin. The city’s population is approximately 17,000. Prostitution activity has been well-documented in the city, surrounding communities, and other areas of the county. This activity and the problems and ancillary crimes it generates result in complaints to law enforcement agencies from residents and businesses. For example, in March 2017, a Menomonie woman was arrested, charged, and ordered to pay a $443 fine for “working as a prostitute” after pleading no contest in Eau Claire County Court to a misdemeanor count of prostitution. An Eau Claire police officer was checking advertisements for prostitution on Backpage.com and recognized a picture of a partially dressed woman he had arrested on three previous occasions.
Consumer-level demand provides the revenue stream for all prostitution and sex trafficking; therefore, demand reduction tactics have been employed locally. Loss of employment and identity disclosure are consequences of buying sex that have occurred within the city. In January 2018, the Menomonie school board president was arrested in Eau Claire and later charged with a criminal misdemeanor of prostitution. The man had attempted to hire a prostituted woman after responding to an advertisement the Eau Claire Police Department posted on Backpage.com. Following his arrest, the man officially resigned from the Menomonie school board after 11 years of service and retired from his position at a local Credit Union. His guilty plea was deferred for 12 months, and it was decided that if he did not commit any new crimes and met other conditions, his charge would be dismissed. As part of a plea deal, the man would have to complete an education program for those arrested for buying sex, known as “John School,” perform 40 hours of community service, pay a $250 fee, and avoid websites commonly used for prostitution in the Eau Claire area. The Backpage ad used to ensnare the man contained a phone number and a female subject wearing lingerie. The man responded to the ad and negotiated a price and location to meet. The man arrived at the location and agreed to pay $80 for 30 minutes of sex with the woman he believed to be prostituted. He admitted to the police that he was attempting to meet to pay for sex. A sum of $80 was inside his wallet.
- Menomonie School Board
- Eau Claire Police Department
Sex Buyer Employment Loss, Identity Disclosure:
- https://chippewa.com/fahl-pleads-guilty-to-soliciting-prostitution (2018)
- https://www.leadertelegram.com/former-menomonie-school-board-president-fahl-charged-with-prostitution (2018)
- https://www.weau.com/Former-Menomonie-School-Board-president-charged-with-prostitution (2018)
- https://chippewa.com/former-menomonie-school-official-pleads-guilty-may-avoid-record/ (2018)
Background on Local Prostitution:
- https://www.menomonie-wi.gov/Minutes.pdf (2016)
- https://www.menomonie-wi.gov/ (2016)
- https://www.leadertelegram.com/menomonie-area-woman-fined-for-prostitution (2017)
- https://www.leadertelegram.com/sex-trafficking-to-be-discussed (2018)
- https://www.leadertelegram.com/fierce-freedom-to-debut-trafficking-film-launch-training-program (2022)
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