St. Marie Guilty of Prostitution Charges; No Jail

Former Assistant Hennepin County Attorney John Paul St. Marie pleaded guilty to three of six counts that he faced but won't receive any jail time-an arrangement that heavily factors in his health.

A former assistant Hennepin County attorney pleaded guilty to three felony counts of promoting prostitution-but he won't receive any jail time.

John Paul St. Marie entered his guilty plea on Tuesday. As part of the plea agreement, three other counts of promoting prostitution were dismissed.

St. Marie, 66, was charged in July with six felony counts of promoting prostitution for running a prostitution ring. He recently admitted to the allegations in a disbarment petition and agreed to give up his right to practice law.

Paul Gustafson, a spokesman for the Ramsey County attorney's office, told Twin Cities Business Wednesday morning that St. Marie's health was a major consideration in the plea deal-which also requires him to pay $250 to a sex offender treatment fund.

“Mr. St. Marie has significant health-care issues,” Gustafson said. “He is confined to a wheelchair. His medical condition requires 24-hour-a-day health monitoring and assistance.”

St. Marie's attorney, Jim Dahlquist, didn't immediately return a Wednesday morning phone message. But Dahlquist told the Star Tribune that St. Marie has post-polio syndrome-a condition that forced him to retire in 2003 because he needs round-the-clock health care.

“To have him incarcerated would require significant taxpayer expense,” Gustafson said in explaining the plea agreement. He added that other considerations factoring into the plea deal were the fact that St. Marie's guilty plea makes him a felon and that he has already been disbarred.

St. Marie will be sentenced on January 20, and the terms of his probation will be determined by a judge at that time.

According to a criminal complaint filed in Ramsey County District Court, St. Marie operated a Web site through which he advertised prostitution services. He set up appointments for women prostitutes with men he called “nice guys” who he said were safe and would pay well.

The Minneapolis Police Department began investigating St. Marie in July 2008 after receiving information from an informant who had previously patronized the prostitution services promoted by him.

In May 2009, investigators set up surveillance equipment that recorded the arrival of three patrons at the Minneapolis Hotel, according to the complaint. The patrons admitted that they were there to hire a female for prostitution and said that St. Marie had arranged the appointment.