New Ulm, MN

Tactics Used

Auto Seizure
Buyer Arrests
Community Service
Employment Loss
Identity Disclosure
IT Based Tactics
John School
License Suspension
Neighborhood Action
Public Education
Reverse Stings
SOAP Orders
Web Stings

New Ulm is a small city of about 14,000 residents located in southern Minnesota’s Brown County near Mankato and St. Peter.

In July 2015, a coalition of law enforcement agencies, led by the Nicollet County Sheriff’s Office and including the New Ulm Police Department, launched a two-stage reverse sting in New Ulm and St. Peter. Over a three-day period, 13 sex buyers were arrested after responding to online advertisements and arranging to meet undercover officers at hotels in the two cities. Law enforcement did not disclose details of the operations, but noted that it “targeted males interested in juvenile female prostitutes” and was “funded in part by a Women’s Foundation of Minnesota Girls Are NOT For Sale grant.”

In October 2015, the NCSO-led coalition conducted a second two-stage reverse sting in St. Peter and New Ulm, arresting seven sex buyers in the process. Although the identities of the majority of those arrested were again not released, two offenders’ names and mugshots were publicized in press. One of the men was charged with a “felony prostitution charge for hiring or agreeing to hire” what he thought was a minor female for prostitution (but was in fact an undercover officer).

In August 2016, New Ulm police conducted a reverse sting using a two-bedroom apartment and decoy ads posted online. One of the arrested sex buyers agreed with undercover investigators to sexually abuse a minor and arrived at the location with $160 in cash, and was charged with felony prostitution related to a minor. The man had texted with undercover officers about sexual activity with a minor and said he would drive from South Dakota to the apartment in New Ulm. He was arrested when he arrived. Six other arrests were made in the operation; the charges were misdemeanors and were referred to the New Ulm City Attorney’s Office for prosecution.

In August 2017, eight people were arrested in a prostitution sting in the New Ulm area. The sting targeted those seeking to sexually abuse 16- and 17-year-old girls. The suspects were booked at Brown County Jail on charges of soliciting a minor to engage in prostitution.

In October 2017, a Mankato man arrested in a June 2017 reverse sting was sentenced to a year probation from Nicollet County Court. He received a stay on a year of jail time with the probation, and was also ordered to serve 40 hours of community service. He was one of four people arrested during a sting in North Mankato conducted by the Nicollet County Sheriff’s Office, New Ulm Police Department, and Mankato Department of Public Safety.

Identity disclosure and loss of employment are consequences of buying sex that have occurred within the city. For example, in July 2015, a pastor resigned from his ministry at St. Paul’s Lutheran Church in New Ulm after being arrested in a prostitution reverse sting conducted in New Ulm the prior week. The man said the resignation was his own decision, with his actions making it impossible for him to continue in a public ministry.

Key Partners

  • Nicollet County Sheriff’s Office
  • New Ulm Police Department
  • Brown County Sheriff’s Office
  • Blue Earth County Sheriff’s Office
  • St. Peter Police Department
  • Mankato Police Department
State Minnesota
Type City
Population 14096
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