Olmsted County, 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

Olmsted County is an area located in southeast Minnesota with a population of approximately 163,000. Prostitution activity has been well-documented within the county, and the problems and ancillary crimes it generates results in complaints and tips to law enforcement agencies. Among the more serious crimes associated with the local commercial sex market is sex trafficking.

Consumer level demand provides the revenue stream for all prostitution and sex trafficking, and has therefore been targeted by local law enforcement agencies as a strategy for prevention and response. Demand reduction tactics used in the town include reverse stings and the disclosure of sex buyer identities, and sex buyer educaiton programming. For example, in 2011, Olmsted County and Rochester police began a series of reverse stings targeting sex buyers as well as those exploited in commercial sex. In 2011-2012, more than 50 arrests were made in Rochester alone, which was reportedly the biggest law enforcement response to prostitution in the county in decades.   The county prosecutor began offering a “john school” program in 2011, in which attendance allows the gross misdemeanor charge of soliciting prostitution to be reduced to a misdemeanor.  While the area had not developed its own program, the men arrested in the county who accept the plea agreement may be sent to the john school operated by Breaking Free in Minneapolis.

In 2018, a man was sentenced to spend less than two months in jail after being caught in an undercover operation targeting patrons of prostitution for the second time in less than two years – and in the second instance, the man was attempting to purchase access to sexually abuse children. The 46 year old man pleaded guilty in May, 2018 in Olmsted County District Court to one count of prostitution: “agreeing to hire a 13- to 15-year-old for sex,” a felony. Over the course of two days in November 2017, he had arranged to pay  a 15-year-old girl $150 for a “car date,” and talked to the girl about sex and asking whether she was on birth control.The 15-year-old girl was actually an undercover Rochester police officer. The man had arranged to meet the “girl” at a restaurant in Owatonna and was arrested by police shortly after arriving at the location. On the day of his arrest, the man sent a photo of himself to the officer, who recognized him from an earlier arrest in January, 2016, in a similar undercover operation. The judge ordered the offender to serve 45 days in jail with credit for six days already served. As part of the jail sentence, he was allowed work release and treatment release. As part of the sentence, he was given 10 years of probation and was ordered to complete 100 hours of community service. The offender was also given a stay of imposition, where successfully completing the probationary sentence would reduce the felony conviction to a misdemeanor on his record. In addition, the court ordered him to complete an intervention program for men who use prostituted women (a “john school”), and fined him $1,085. In the 2016 case, the man pleaded guilty to a misdemeanor count of prostitution-agree to hire 18-year-old or older and was sentenced to a stayed 90-day jail term for a period of one year.

Key Partners

  • Rochester Police Department
  • Olmsted County Police Department
  • Olmsted County Attorney’s Office
State Minnesota
Type County
Population 163436
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