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Robbinsdale is a city in Hennepin County, MN, and has a population of roughly 15,000 residents. It is a part of the greater Minneapolis/St. Paul MSA. Prostitution and sex trafficking have been widespread and persistent problems in the area for decades. For example, in 2012, a former Olympian, nonpartisan Three Rivers Park District, District 3 parks commissioner candidate, and Robbinsdale resident, was arrested on the charge of soliciting prostitution as a result of a prostitution investigation conducted by the St. Paul Police Department. According to reports, the operation focused on targeting individuals seeking to purchase commercial sex through the website Backpage.com. Officers posted decoy ads and communicated with potential sex buyers online in which undercovers officers determined the location to meet, where upon their arrival, 10 sex buyers were arrested by undercover officers. The former Olympian’s arrest occurred one day prior to the district election.
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. Among the tactics used to reduce the instances of prostitution and the crimes associated with the commercial sex industry are those targeting consumer level demand. Shaming and loss of employment are consequences of buying sex that have occurred within the city. For example, in March, 2014, the Police Chief of the Robbinsdale Police Department resigned from his position after being charged in Anoka County District Court for solicitation of a prostitute, a misdemeanor offense in the state of Minnesota. According to reports, the former Police Chief was one of 11 individuals arrested by the Coon Rapids Police Department during a prostitution sting at a private residence in the city of Coon Rapids, MN. The arrested sex buyer continued to work as Police Chief for four days after his arrest, when he resigned from his position without notice. The Robbinsdale Police Department was not notified about the former Police Chief’s arrest per state law, in which disclosing violations of the law to employers is the responsibility of the employee. Additionally, under Minnesota statute 6700.1610 Reporting Obligations and Cooperation, an officer (licensee) is responsible for disclosing criminal violations and/or arrests to the Minnesota Board of Peace Officer Standards and Training within 90 days of the incident. According to State law, officers in violation of statute 6700.1600 Violation of Standards of Conduct, are subject to face disciplinary action such as having their license removed if the officer does not resign from duty. The Mayor of Robbinsdale released a statement confirming the acceptance of the sex buyer’s resignation to the city manager.
Background on Prostitution and Sex Trafficking in the Area:
- https://www.twincities.com/2012/11/04/three-rivers-parks-candidate-pleads-guilty-in-prostitution-sting/ (2012)
- https://www.twincities.com/2012/08/20/st-paul-man-cited-in-prostitution-sting-is-parks-candidate/ (2012)
- https://minnesota.cbslocal.com/2012/08/21/former-olympian-busted-for-soliciting-prostitution/ (2012)
Sex Buyer Fired or Resigned Due to Arrest; Shaming:
- https://minnesota.cbslocal.com/robbinsdale-police-chief-resigns-after-prostitution-sting/ (2014)
- https://www.hometownsource.com/sun_post/news/publicsafety/robbinsdale-police-chief-caught-in-prostitution-sting-resigns/article_e8b5d2b0-5505-5875-900e-4205377c81de.html (2014)
- https://www.startribune.com/ex-robbinsdale-police-chief-charged-in-prostitution-sting/251995391/ (2014)