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From Prosecutor to Pimp

It's no more Mr. Nice Guy for a former assistant Hennepin County attorney in Minneapolis busted for running a prostitution ring for a group of well-to-do older men known as "The Minnesota Nice Guys." Police allege that the attorney, John St. Marie, has been arranging prostitutes for the group since shortly after retiring from the county attorney's office in 2003.

The 30 or more men who belong to the Nice Guys would receive weekly e-mails from St. Marie advertising women who would be flying into Minneapolis and staying at some of its finest hotels, according to a report in the Star Tribune. One woman, a 34-year-old former teacher from Colombia, averaged four appointments a day, charging her clients $500 an hour.

The Nice Guys were lawyers, business owners, accountants and mortgage bankers in their early 40s to mid-60s. Many of them came to know St. Marie, 65, through an international Web site for self-described "hobbyists" looking for high-dollar escorts. He would book the women's flights and hotel rooms and schedule their appointments. Police watched as one man, a businessman from outside Minneapolis, came to meet with the former teacher "dressed in a Hawaiian print shirt, shorts and penny loafers."

St. Marie, who uses a wheelchair because of childhood polio, and his attorney, Jim Dahlquist, declined requests to comment on the case. MinnLawyer Blog notes that St. Marie is not alleged to have taken money for arranging the liaisons, but is alleged to have accepted "in-kind services" from some of the women. He is expected to face federal charges for transporting the women across state lines.

Police have not arrested St. Marie but searched his home in May and seized his computer. At the time, he told police that he had been seeing prostitutes for 35 years, well through his time as a county attorney.As for the Nice Guys, some of them cried when arrested. Police said the arrests should send a message that people who arrange prostitutes through the Internet should not assume it is anonymous. The other message, of course, is that Nice Guys do finish last.

Posted by Robert J. Ambrogi on June 11, 2009 at 09:24 AM | Permalink | Comments (12)

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