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Judge orders maximum sentence for sex solicitor

BEMIDJI -- A Bemidji man arrested for soliciting prostitution at a local department store was sentenced today in Beltrami County District Court.

Derek Barnes, 22, was sentenced for two counts of soliciting prostitution in a public place and one count of third-degree DWI to three consecutive one-year terms in the Beltrami County Jail.

On Jan. 21, Barnes approached two female Walmart employees and offered money for sexual acts. He fled the store and was eventually apprehended after he drove his car into a ditch.

Judge Paul Benshoof stayed all but 105 days of Barnes’ first yearlong sentence for soliciting for two years. All of the second yearlong sentence has been stayed for two years and the DWI yearlong term was stayed for six years. Barnes has been credited with 70 days time served. He must pay a $100 fine for each solicitation charge and a $500 fine for the DWI. Barnes has been placed on two years supervised probation.

Soliciting prostitution in a public place is punishable by one year in jail and a $3,000 fine. The third-degree DWI charge also carries a penalty of one year in jail and a $3,000 fine. Benshoof said he is holding the maximum sentence over Barnes because he doesn’t seem to be complying with society’s rules.

“This just isn’t normal behavior,” Benshoof said.

Barnes has a criminal history that includes indecent exposure, felony stalking, burglary and damage to property. The felony stalking charge was a result of Barnes setting an 8-foot-tall cross on fire in a woman’s yard in Northern Township in 2012.

Crystal Dey
Crystal Dey covers crime, courts, tribal relations and social issues for The Bemidji Pioneer in Bemidji, Minnesota. Originally from Minnesota’s Iron Range, Dey has worked for the Echo Press in Alexandria, Minnesota, The Forum in Fargo, North Dakota, The Tampa Tribune in Tampa, Florida, the Hartford Courant in Hartford and West Hartford News in West Hartford, Connecticut. Dey studied Mass Communications at Minnesota State University Moorhead with an emphasis in Online Journalism. Follow Crystal Dey on Twitter @Crystal_Dey.
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