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Case #166 Police: Sex trafficking victim turns up at Woodbury hotel

Woodbury, MN|Sex-Trafficking Minors|Add Comment
By: Mike Longaecker, Woodbury Bulletin
Madam Liz McDougal
Village Voice Attorney

An investigation into juvenile sex trafficking turned up a teenage girl and the arrest of a Little Rock, Ark., man this month in Woodbury.

A Minneapolis police officer investigating juvenile sex trafficking activity spotted an ad Aug. 9 on the website Backpage.com that depicted the image of a provocatively dressed young woman offering “unrushed service, full of pleasure.”

The officer called the number on the ad and spoke with a female who said she was at the Red Roof Inn in Woodbury. According to a criminal complaint filed in the case, the woman agreed to terms for sex.

When the officer arrived at the Woodbury motel, he and local police located the female, a 17-year-old girl.

The girl told police she was involved in sex trafficking and that she had been performing sex acts for money for the past three days.

One of those contacts was with a man she met through Backpage.com, the girl told officers. She said the encounter occurred at Woodbury’s Hampton Inn on Weir Drive.

She turned over the man’s contact information and police began investigating the man.

Officers went to the Hampton Inn and made contact with Steven Franklin Minner, a 60-year-old man from Little Rock, Ark. According to a criminal complaint, Minner admitted to having sex with the girl on Aug. 8.

Minner told police he provided the girl a $200 “donation” in exchange for the encounter. He was arrested and jailed Aug. 9, then released on bail the following day.

Minner’s was charged with one count of engaging in prostitution with a 16- or 17-year-old, a felony. His next court date is Aug. 30.

The girl is not likely to face charges. Twin Cities prosecutors, including Washington County Attorney Pete Orput, announced in 2011 that they would treat juvenile prostitutes as victims and not criminals.

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