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17 men charged with soliciting prostitutes in Rochester

Seventeen men have been charged with prostitution-related offenses in Olmsted County District Court following a police sting aimed at clients of prostitutes in Rochester.

The charges, which were filed Friday, were the result of a sting operation Dec. 20-21. In each case, the Rochester Police Department's street crimes unit posted several online ads under different names. Suspects then unknowingly contacted an undercover officer to arrange for a meeting at a hotel.

One man charged is from the Twin Cities area, but the rest of the men are from southeastern Minnesota. All 17 face the same charge of gross misdemeanor hiring, offering to hire, or agreeing to hire a prostitute in a public place. 

Seven of the men charged are from Rochester: Travis William Deetz, 36; Douglas Michael Trebtoske, 59; Tien Danh, 41; Kenneth Gerard Herman, 53; Michael Anthony Ray Brown, 37; Collin James Pearson, 24; and Brian Jerome Cwikla, 44.

Other men charged include Elijah Masara Anuri, 35, of Austin; Roger Lee Shones, 55, of Millville; Spencer Ryan Kuehl, 48, of Red Wing; David Alan Liedl, 44, of Eyota; and Joseph Paul Schmitz, 58, of Dodge Center. 


Also charged were Joshua Jerold Malecha, 35, of Kasson; Leon James Holst, 57, of Dexter; Kenneth Eugene Bethke, 42, of Stewartville; and Brian Michael Streiff, 34, of Mazeppa.

Eighteen men were arrested in the two-day sting, said Olmsted County Attorney Mark Ostrem, but his office declined to charge one man because his alleged offer of money for sex was too vague.

The 17 men who were charged all have the same date for their first court appearance, April 2. Prosecutor Karen Sullivan Hook will handle all the cases, which will help ensure that similar plea deals are prepared for all 17 men, Ostrem said.

"The good news is that we can be very efficient with all 17" at once, Ostrem said. "The bad news is that you have all 17 at the same time, and that's going to be a long day."

At the time of the arrests, police said the operation was intended to crack down on prostitution in the city. More than 50 arrests have been made in Rochester since December 2010, in the biggest law enforcement response to prostitution in decades. Authorities say the effort has shown that Rochester is a lucrative market for prostitution.

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