St. Louis Park, 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

St. Louis Park is a city of about 50,000 residents in Hennepin County, Minnesota, and is a suburb immediately west of Minneapolis. Prostitution and sex trafficking have been documented in the city, including local involvement in an international sex trafficking ring that was discovered in 2017. A victim in that case said they were frequently assaulted, raped, and robbed by sex buyers while being trafficked.

At least one web-based reverse sting has been conducted in the city, and an arrested sex buyer lost employment in Savage, MN, as a consequence. In May 2022, four men were arrested in a multi-jurisdictional, web-based reverse sting conducted in St. Louis Park as “part of a coordinated statewide response aimed at ending human trafficking and exploitation.” Undercover officers placed decoy ads posing as a minor offering prostitution on multiple websites. The four men, who believed they were meeting a 15-year-old girl for sex, were arrested after showing up at the agreed upon time and location. Their names and ages were released to the press. One man was identified as a middle school principal in the neighboring town of Savage, and was held in the Hennepin County Jail “due to his position of authority working with children.” The other three men were booked and then released. The principal was charged with one felony count of prostitution involving a minor, which carries a maximum sentence of 10 year in prison and/or a fine of $6,000 to $20,000. In September, 2022, the offender, now described as the “former south metro principal,” pleaded guilty to one count of the prostitution of an individual believed to be aged 13 to 16. The man’s employment with the school was terminated, and he was replaced.  Under the plea agreement, the sex buyer was ordered to serve 30 days at a workhouse and 30 more days in a “sent to service” program. He received four days of credit for time served. He was also order to complete a psychosexual evaluation and follow any resulting recommendations. Additionally, his internet usage would be monitored, and he was ordered to have no contact with minors during probation. If he violated the conditions of his probation, he would face up to three years in prison. The sting operation had been conducted by the St. Louis Park Police Department in collaboration with police from Bloomington, Eden Prairie, and Eina, as well as the Minnesota Bureau of Criminal Apprehension, Southwest Hennepin Drug Task Force, Minnesota Human Trafficking Investigators Task Force, and the Hennepin County Sheriff’s Office.

Key Partners

  • St. Louis Park Police Department
  • Bloomington Police Department
  • Eden Prairie Police Department
  • Eina Police Department
  • Minnesota Bureau of Criminal Apprehension
  • Southwest Hennepin Drug Task Force
  • Minnesota Human Trafficking Investigators Task Force
  • Hennepin County Sheriff’s Office
State Minnesota
Type City
Population 49158
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