Former Aitkin Police Chief pleads guilty to soliciting prostitution
BRAINERD, Minn. -- Former Aitkin Police Chief Scott Leslie Smith will serve two years of supervised probation after pleading guilty to soliciting prostitution in a public place.
BRAINERD, Minn. - Former Aitkin Police Chief Scott Leslie Smith will serve two years of supervised probation after pleading guilty to soliciting prostitution in a public place.
Smith, 62, was one of eight men charged with the gross misdemeanor in May after the Baxter Police Department and other area law enforcement agencies conducted a prostitution sting operation at a Baxter hotel.
The conditions of Smith's probation require him to provide full access to all electronic devices, comply with counseling recommendations, submit to random searches and not use or access any website used to promote prostitution or escort services.
In lieu of a $1,685 fine, the court granted Smith permission to complete community service. According to court documents, Smith will work with Crow Wing County Attorney Don Ryan to develop a local "john school," a program intended to educate offenders on the impact their choices have on the women and children involved in sex trafficking.
Smith attended the only john school in the state, located in St. Paul, after his arrest. The school is a collaborative effort between nonprofit organization Breaking Free and governmental bodies to hold offenders accountable while helping reduce demand for prostitution.
"Arresting and prosecuting offenders does not necessarily deter future illegal activity," Breaking Free states on its website. "The best practice in community corrections combines arrest and prosecution with treatment."
On May 20, Smith responded to an advertisement placed by Baxter police under the "Escort" section of a classified advertising website. The post advertised the services of a fictional 22-year-old woman named Sunny. The ad stated the woman would be in town for one day only and provided fictional photos and a phone number.
The ad - titled "Fun and Frisky platinum BLONDE IN Town May 20th!!!!!" - read: "I'm super HOT & have tight lil' body for giving you a real TREAT!!!" An undercover officer posing as Sunny on the phone set up appointments at a Baxter hotel with men who called or texted the provided phone number.
According to the criminal complaints for the eight men charged, the johns allegedly agreed on a price for either a half-hour or hour of time with Sunny. Police arrested the men who knocked on the door of a hotel room where they believed Sunny was located, including Smith.
Using a cellphone later found in his possession, Smith called the phone number provided in the advertisement to ask whether Sunny was in town. Smith told the undercover officer he did not want to discuss services or prices over the phone and stated, "Let's see when I get there."
Smith called the undercover officer three more times, the final of which came from the parking lot of the hotel. Before entering, Smith agreed to a half-hour of "full service," a term familiar to law enforcement as referring to sexual intercourse. After his arrest, Smith admitted to officers he believed "full service meant naked, messing around, sex, whatever."
Smith submitted a guilty plea in Crow Wing County District Court and was sentenced by Judge Earl E. Maus July 27.
Smith was represented by Attorney Chuck Halverson, who also represents another accused john, Attorney Richard Albert Ohlsen. A call to Halverson was not returned Monday.