Nine face prostitution charges following stingThey were arrested last month after they showed up at a Cottage Grove hotel and discussed arrangements for sexual services in a hotel room. Charges were filed recently in Washington County District Court.
By: Jon Avise, South Washington County Bulletin
Nine men arrested in an August prostitution sting at a Cottage Grove hotel have been charged in Washington County District Court.
The men responded to online advertisements for a 28-year-old female who was willing to meet at “discrete location” for a half-hour or an hour at a time, according to the criminal complaint filed in Washington County District Court. They were arrested after they showed up and discussed arrangements for sexual services in a hotel room. Woodbury police assisted in the sting.
Each man arrested by the Washington County Sheriff's Office detail was charged last week with one count of gross misdemeanor engaging in prostitution while in a public place. The charge carries up to a year in jail and a $3,000 fine if found guilty.
The nine accused of engaging in prostitution are Michael Robert Gobely, 26, of South St. Paul; John Robert Hansen, 50, of River Falls; James R. Johnson, 53, of Bloomer, Wis.; Jason Thomas Leitz, 26, of Inver Grove Heights; Timothy Arthur Rudolph, 49, of Hastings; Phillip James Smith, 50, of Shoreview; William Harold Taack, 72, of Cottage Grove; Alberto Isaac Villegas-Licona, 34, of St. Paul; and Jon-Marc Ylvisaker, 42, of Savage.
All the men called the cell phone number of an undercover female officer with the Woodbury Police Department who had posted multiple ads on the Website backpage.com with offers of an “AFTERnoon DELIGHT!” a “Lunchtime Special,” or “let me relieve your stress,” according to the complaint.
The men would call the phone and the undercover officer would provide them directions to the hotel. The alleged johns would then call again, this time for a room number; they would then knock on the door and enter the room with the undercover officer.
Terms would be discussed after the officer would tell the men — who arrived one after another throughout the day of Aug. 17 — she wanted “the business ends of things taken care of first,” and she would ask each if he was “(OK) wearing a condom?”
The men were arrested after each made it clear they were willing to exchange money for sex. Assisting officers made the arrests.