Catholic board member arrested for soliciting prostitute after undercover cop lied to him
Houle thought he took all the necessary precautions to avoid legal trouble, but he misunderstood the law.
Thomas Houle, a member of St. Croix Catholic School's Board of Directors and a Catholic school youth softball coach, was arrested in the same Fridley prostitution sting that nabbed Hill Murray football coach Mark Mauer.
A Catholic official getting arrested for soliciting a prostitute is interesting enough, but the behavior of the undercover cop who solicited Houle is also worthy of discussion.
Houle's misadventure began when he responded to an online sex ad. Stillwater Patch tells the story from there:
The undercover officer -- posing as an escort -- answered a phone call from a man identifying himself as "Tom," who allegedly asked the officer how much she charged for one hour, to which the officer allegedly replied $150.
Houle then allegedly asked if the "escort" was a member of any type of law enforcement, the report states. The undercover cop replied, she was not -- and Houle then allegedly agreed to pay $150 for one hour.
Just after 1:15 p.m., Houle arrived at the LivInn Hotel, where the undercover cop escorted him to a room with video and audio surveillance, the report states.
Once inside the room, the police officer reportedly asked Houle what he was looking for, when "he became nervous and told me he was going to leave," the report states. "When I asked why he was leaving, he stated he was leaving because I was talking like a cop."
Houle then allegedly asked the undercover officer to prove she was not a cop.
"When I asked what I needed to do, he asked to grab my breast," the report states. Houle allegedly agreed to pay for sex, and asked once again, if the "escort" was a police officer.
"I told him again that I wasn't," the report states. "He then gave me $150 in cash I requested, plus a $50 tip."
That's when Fridley police rushed in and made the arrest.
Apparently, officers working in prostitution "details" (they don't tell them "stings") aren't legally obligated to inform prospective johns they're cops.
As Fridley police Lieutenant Mike Monsrud told Patch, "We did nothing to make [johns] do this -- we don't believe this is entrapment at all, and there has been a court precedent set backing us up on that."
Entrapment? Technically, maybe not. But if nothing else it's certainly dishonest.
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