Olmsted County is an area located in southeast Minnesota with a population of 144,000. In 2011, Olmsted County and Rochester police began a series of reverse stings targeting the buyers and stings targeting the sellers of sex. In 2011-2012, more than 50 arrests have been made in Rochester alone. This reportedly has been the biggest law enforcement response to prostitution in the county in decades. The county prosecutor also began offering a john school program in 2011, in which attendance allows the gross misdemeanor charge to be reduced to a misdemeanor. While the area has not developed its own program, the men arrested in the county who accept the plea agreement are 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 sex with children. The 46 year old man pleaded guilty in May of 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,” talking 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 he must 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.
- Rochester Police Department
- Olmsted County Police Department
Reverse Stings with Shaming:
- “20 Arrested in Owatonna, Albert Lea Sex Trafficking Stings,” ABC/KSTP-TV 5, April 17 2015.
- “20 People Arrested in Human Trafficking and Sex Crime Bust,” CBS/KIMT-TV 3, April 17 2015.
- “20 People Arrested in Undercover Human Trafficking Operation,” ABC/KAAL-TV 6, April 17 2015.
- “3 North Iowans Arrested in Minnesota Sex Crimes Sting,” Mason City Globe Gazette, April 18 2015.
- “4 Mower Residents Arrested in Sex Crimes Stings,” Austin Daily Herald, April 18 2015.
- “20 Arrested in Undercover Prostitution Sting in Owatonna, Albert Lea,” Albert Lea Tribune, April 20 2015.
- “Waseca Man among Those Arrested in Prostitution Sting,” Waseca County News, April 20 2015.
- https://www.postbulletin.com/news/crime/owatonna-man-sentenced-in-prostitution-case (2018)
Background information on prostitution in the area: