Prostitution in Minnesota Part 2 of 4: Procedures

Prostitution in MinnesotaWelcome back to Appelman Law Firm’s “Prostitution in Minnesota” blog series. Last week we outlined the crime of prostitution in Minnesota by defining key terminology. Here we’ll delve more deeply into the procedures surrounding prostitution—specifically how police go about setting up and arresting patrons.

The business of prostitution has changed drastically in the past decade, shifting from the streets to the internet. Sites like Craigslist and Backpage offer an easy way for prostitutes to advertise their services, and an even easier way for patrons to find exactly what they want. Other sites, like The Erotic Review, allow patrons to read reviews of prostitutes written by people who’ve utilized their services.

Police operations that focus on trapping patrons will often post fake advertisements on these and other sites, offering sexual favors for money. The language used in these advertisements is coded. For example, you won’t find someone offering a “blowjob for 20 bucks.” Instead advertisements offer massages or use regional terminology as code for certain sexual favors (e.g. Greek=anal sex, French=oral sex).

Most police prostitution stings operate on a two-call system. When a prospective patron calls the number posted on a fake advertisement, the initial information exchanged is very general. The officer posing as a prostitute will give the patron a general location at which to meet (e.g. hwy 42 and I-35 in Burnsville). The patron will then have to call again, once in the area, to get a specific location (e.g. Holiday Inn, Rm. 231). All calls are recorded and used as evidence.

Once the patron arrives at the designated location (usually a hotel room that is wired and video recorded from an adjacent room), the undercover officer will entice conversation regarding the patron’s desires by asking questions like: “What are you interested in?” or “Is it ok if you use a condom?” Such statements ensure the recorded conversation covers the required sex-for-money elements of the crime.

The officer will then request that the patron place his payment or “donation” on the bedside table (or somewhere in the room). When the patron does so, the crime of prostitution has been committed. The undercover officer gives the arrest signal, and the rest of the surveillance team enters the room and places the patron under arrest. The entire conversation between the patron and the undercover officer is video recorded and used as evidence for the prosecution.

These prostitution stings are set up by police with help from prosecutors. They are crafted around what prosecutors will ask defendants in the courtroom. It is a process predicated on deception.

You may be surprised at the locations in which police choose to conduct these stings. Instead of targeting specific people or groups of people, they hone in on a handful of Minnesota cities and counties. To find out where this is happening and why, tune in next week for our third installment of “Prostitution in Minnesota.”

Related Sources:
www.craigslist.com
www.backpage.com
www.eroticreview.com

Burnsville Man Convicted of Prostituting 16-year-old Girl on Craigslist

Arthur James ChappellOn September 15, a federal jury in Minneapolis found 38-year-old Burnsville resident, Arthur James Chappell, guilty of prostituting a 16-year-old girl. Chappell promoted his prostitution business (which consisted of both adult and underage women) through Craigslist and Backpage websites.

Evidence presented at the trial proved that for two months in 2007, Chappell employed the underage girl to perform sex acts for money. In June 2007, Bloomington Police discovered four women in a hotel room rented to Chappell. They later found that Chappell had been promoting adult and underage females for prostitution through online advertisements.

This is not Chappell’s first conviction. He has numerous priors including: sexual assault, theft, disorderly conduct, identity theft, and promoting prostitution.

Minnesota law dictates that anyone who promotes the prostitution of a person under the age of 18 may be sentenced to not more than 20 years in prison, or a fine of not more than $40,000, or both. Because of his prior convictions and prostituting of multiple women, Chappell faces a maximum penalty of life in prison.

This is a perfect example of the current prostitution business in Minnesota. In this digital age, prostitution has transitioned from the streets to the infinite cyberspace abyss, known as the internet. Sites like Craigslist and Backpage allow pimps and prostitutes to freely advertise their services under a relatively anonymous guise.


Related Sources:
www.startribune.com
www.twincities.com

Prostitution in Minnesota Part 1 of 4: Introduction & Definitions

Prostitution in MNWelcome to the first installment of a four part series by Appelman Law Firm on prostitution in Minnesota.

This series is intended to educate people on the dangers of and defenses against prostitution. In this segment we will clarify what exactly prostitution means in the state of Minnesota by defining important legal terminology.

All of the following definitions are taken from MN Stat. Sec. 609.321.

_____________________________________________________________________________________

Definitions

Patron: An individual who hires, offers, or agrees to hire another individual to engage in sexual penetration or sexual contact.

Prostitute: An individual who engages in prostitution.

Prostitution: Offering, or agreeing to engage in sexual contact or sexual penetration for hire.

Sexual Contact: Any of the following acts, provided they can be construed as being for the purpose of satisfying the actor’s sexual impulses: the intentional touching by an individual of a prostitute’s intimate parts, the intentional touching by a prostitute of another individual’s intimate parts.

Sexual Penetration: Any of the following acts, if for the purpose of satisfying the actor’s sexual impulses: sexual intercourse, cunnilingus, fellatio, anal intercourse, or any intrusion into the genital or anal openings of an individual’s body by any part of another individual’s body, or any object used for the purpose of satisfying sexual impulses.

Hire: MN Stat. Sec. 609.321 fails to define the term “hire.” Webster’s Dictionary defines hire as such: To engage the services of a person for a fee; or to grant one’s services for a fee.

_____________________________________________________________________________________

Under Minnesota law, one need not have any physical connection with another to be convicted of prostitution. The crime of prostitution occurs long before any physical contact between patron and prostitute. The crime is the offer, agreement, or act of hiring someone to engage in sexual contact/penetration. For example, saying “I’ll give you $40.00 for a blow-job,” qualifies as an explicit offer to engage in sexual contact for hire. This is a crime.

As with drugs and alcohol, engaging in prostitution can become a serious addiction for some people. If you or someone you know is addicted to prostitution, the best course of action is to seek help. The following is a list of several prostitution recovery programs: Minnesota Recovery, Sexual Recovery Institute, Recovery Connection.

Stay tuned for part two of our “Prostitution in Minnesota” series, where we’ll break down where and how prostitution is happening in your Minnesota neighborhood.


Related Sources:
www.merriam-webster.com
www.revisor.mn.gov/statutes

Ham Lake Poacher Busted After Posting Photos of Illegal Game on Facebook

Ham Lake PoacherA 20-year-old hunter from Ham Lake, Minnesota faces a series of fines for poaching two bucks and a surplus of geese. The hunter was caught after he posted several pictures on Facebook documenting his illegal exploits.

“It was definitely not smart,” said Department of Natural Resources conservation officer, Travis Muyres.

The hunter posted a photo on Facebook of a buck he killed in September and then posted a picture of another he killed in October. It is illegal to kill more than one buck per season in Minnesota. By posting these photos, the hunter provided photographic evidence of his guilt. If that wasn’t enough, the hunter posted another photo of himself and two friends with 12 geese they shot. The daily limit for geese is three per person, meaning they had shot three more than legally allowed.

After seeing the pictures, someone turned the poachers in to the Turn In Poachers (TIP) line. The hunters were confronted with their own photos and admitted to everything.

The deer hunter will have his bow and both deer confiscated. He also faces $1,000 in restitution, as well as charges for not tagging his first deer, and shooting an over-limit of both deer and geese. The young hunter also took one of the bucks to a taxidermist in Wisconsin. This qualifies as the transportation of illegal game across state lines and could’ve cost the hunter his vehicle, had officials chosen to seize it.

This is further proof that you should always be careful of what you post on social media sites. Posting information and multimedia has consequences that can sometimes (as in this case) result in legal trouble.

“The worst idea is to brag about your crime,” says Criminal Defense Attorney, Avery Appelman. “Many Americans feel the need to ‘explain’ themselves when they are arrested. There is nothing to explain. Keep your mouth shut. You have the right to remain silent, so use it. Do not incriminate yourself, especially by providing photographic proof of your guilt.”


Related Sources:
www.startribune.com

Florida Mother Murders Son for Disturbing Farmville Game

Farmvilled Baby MurderJacksonville mother, Alexandra Tobias, pled guilty on Wednesday, October 27 to killing her baby, because his crying interrupted her Farmville game on Facebook.

Tobias, 22, was arrested in January for shaking to death her three-month-old son, Dylan Edmondson, in an attempt to silence his crying. She told police she became angry with his cries while playing the popular Facebook game known as Farmville.

Tobias shook her baby once and then went out for a cigarette to calm down. She came back and shook the child again, during which time the infant may have hit his head on the computer screen. The child was taken to the hospital and pronounced dead soon after arrival. The cause of death was abusive head trauma resulting from Shaken Baby Syndrome (SBS).

Farmville is an incredibly popular simulation game developed for Facebook users. Players act as farmers who must successfully raise cattle and crops with the help of other Facebook friends. There are roughly 60 million active Farmville users. Many have cited the addictive quality of the game as being the catalyst for Tobias’s aggression. Other evidence shifts the blame to the young mother’s mental state which, according to Tobias, had been deteriorating since the death of her mother.

“This is a truly tragic situation. Ms. Tobias will live the rest of her life knowing she murdered her son,” says Criminal Defense Attorney, Avery Appelman. “Her lawyer should avoid blaming Farmville for the murder and instead highlight the fact that Tobias’s actions were the result of an unskilled, emotionally compromised young mother who had no coping powers.”

Tobias faces a minimum of 25 years and a maximum penalty of life in prison. Her sentencing is scheduled for this December.


Related Sources:
www.nydailynews.com
www.msnbc.com

Florida Parents Arrested for Hosting High School Party with 600 Kids

Around 12:30 a.m. on Sunday, October 10, Shlomo and Jeannie Rasabi were arrested for hosting an “open house” party at their $7.5 million Florida estate for 600 high school teenagers. Prior to that evening, the Rasabis agreed to hold a homecoming get-together for their two teenage sons and some of their friends from the prestigious American Heritage School.

The party quickly got out of hand. Police arrived to find roughly 100 minors partying on the front lawn, dozens vomiting in the street, and four girls passed out in front of the house. Upon entering the home, they discovered 500 more minors freely consuming alcohol.

Shlomo and Jeannie were locked in their bedroom, where they had apparently been all night as 500 teenagers partied in their home. Shlomo told the arresting officer that he was unaware that all the kids were on his premises and denied providing the alcohol. Jeannie Rasabi reported that she did sanction the event, but was under the impression that only 150 students would be attending.

“The Rasabis’ ‘play dumb’ alibi is weak at best,” says Avery Appelman, a criminal defense lawyer practicing in Minneapolis. “Their defense attorney’s primary objective should be helping them develop a strategy for communicating with their kids about the dangers of underage drinking.”

Even if the Rasabis can prove they didn’t provide alcohol at the party, they will still be in legal hot water. Florida, as well as Minnesota, law states that adults are held criminally accountable when they fail to halt underage drinking in theiRasabir homes. As a result, the Rasabis could feasibly be charged with 500 underage drinking violations—all gross misdemeanors, as well as disorderly conduct, and public nuisance infractions.

“The most troubling thing about this situation is the fact that the parents allowed it to happen,” says Appelman. “Providing alcohol to minors under no supervision is a combination for disaster. The government is cracking down big time on social host violations and, as a result, we are going to see more and more prosecutions like this in the near future.”




Related Sources:
www.msnbc.com
www.truecrimereport.com