Three of the men facing gross misdemeanor charges for soliciting prostitution in a public place in Crow Wing County have pleaded guilty.
Matthew Kevin Berg, 33, Brainerd, Edward Thomas Dodak, 44, Mt. Pleasant, Mich., and Kevin David Happke, 52, Pierz, were convicted of the charges resulting from law enforcement stings in Baxter.
The men responded to online advertisements for escort services and then engaged in conversations with undercover police officers, where they solicited sex in exchange for money.
Berg was one of eight men charged in the first operation conducted in May. He appeared for his sentencing on Oct. 21 before Judge David J. Ten Eyck. Berg was sentenced to two years of supervised probation, during which he must submit to random searches of his personally owned cellphones or computers.
Berg is also not allowed to use Craigslist, backpages.com or other internet sites used to promote prostitution, must remain law-abiding and must not commit any same or similar crimes.
Berg was required to attend and has completed the offenders prostitution program at Breaking Free, a St. Paul-based nonprofit. The program is intended to hold buyers of illegal sex accountable while raising awareness among them on the impacts of sex trafficking. Berg was fined $750. The court waived the prostitution penalty assessment portion of his fee.
Dodak and Happke were two of four men charged in a third operation conducted in August.
Like Berg, Happke was sentenced to two years of supervised probation through Nov. 25, 2017, and must remain law-abiding and not commit the same or similar crimes. He appeared for his sentencing Nov. 23 before Judge Earl E. Maus.
Happke is also barred from use of web services promoting escort services and prostitution, although his probation conditions allow him to use Craigslist for business purposes. The Pierz man was ordered to serve 30 days in Crow Wing County Jail if he does not enroll in the Breaking Free program by September 2016. Happke was fined $1,685.
Dodak was sentenced to 30 days in the Crow Wing County Jail by Judge Richard A. Zimmerman on Oct. 26, although was not required to serve the sentence with his completion of the Breaking Free program.
The Michigan man is required to take part in unsupervised probation through Oct. 26, 2017. He must submit to random searches of his person, residence and vehicles. Dodak must also provide law enforcement with full access to all electronic devices, such as cellphones and computers, and his passwords to any social networking accounts.
The conditions of his probation also include no same or similar offenses and to remain law-abiding. Dodak was fined $2,085.