Created: 02/22/2013 10:47 PM KSTP.com By: Mark Saxenmeyer
It might be the oldest profession in the world, and it might be considered a so-called "victimless crime" in the eyes of some, but when a coach entrusted with helping promote Christian values in teenagers is ensnared in a prostitution sting, a misdemeanor arrest becomes a much bigger deal.
That's the scenario involving Mark Mauer, who currently leads Hill-Murray High School's football program in Maplewood. He was among 23 people arrested by Fridley police earlier this week.
Mauer was hired to head up the school's program last year. In September he told 5 EYEWITNESS NEWS, "As a football coach you really do have a responsibility to try to add a brick or two to that foundation that their parents have set and develop them to become young men."
On Tuesday, Fridley police say they encountered Mauer in a very different role.
According to Lt.. Mike Monsrud, "He was just one of the people that day who showed up and offered to exchange money for sex."
The sting actually began on Monday when police answered ads that were placed on the internet by women offering sex. They arranged to meet four of them at a Fridley hotel and then arrested them when they showed up. The next day, officers placed ads pretending to be prostitutes, and the 19 men who responded were also arrested.
Police say they had no idea who Mauer was at the time of his arrest, that they knew nothing about his 30-plus years of coaching football at schools like the University of Nebraska, the University of Wisconsin, North Dakota State and Concordia College in St. Paul.
Monsrud said, "I can tell you that we get all walks of life, very well dressed professional people to unemployed people to everything in between. And a lot of times these people have wives, families, successful careers, and a lot of times it's just a misdemeanor arrest and sometimes people even very close to them never know anything happened."
For Mauer though, that won't be the case.
Court records show Mauer is in the process of being legally evicted form his home in Woodbury. The house is now empty. Neighbors say Mauer is married with three grown daughters. He is the cousin of Twins catcher Joe Mauer.
Neither administrators nor parents would comment outside Hill-Murray Friday. But the school's president. Dr. Susan Paul, sent out an email calling Mauer's arrest "distressing." She added, "This incident is not related in any way to Hill-Murray, our students, or Mr. Mauer's work responsibilities. Nor will this incident affect the high quality education that our families expect at Hill-Murray School. We ask for your prayers for all members of the Hill-Murray School community."
Fridley police say they conduct at least two prostitution stings ever year, in an effort to reduce problems they say tend to go along with it--things like burglaries and drug-related crimes.
Attempts to reach Mark Mauer for comment were unsuccessful. He's scheduled for a court hearing in Anoka March 20th.
Mark Saxenmeyer can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org