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'Nice guys' prostitution ring leader pleads guilty

ST. PAUL - A former assistant Hennepin County attorney accused of arranging prostitutes for "nice guys" pleaded guilty Tuesday to three counts of felony promotion of prostitution.

ST. PAUL - A former assistant Hennepin County attorney accused of arranging prostitutes for "nice guys" pleaded guilty Tuesday to three counts of felony promotion of prostitution.

John St. Marie, 66, of Minneapolis was charged in July with six counts; three of the counts are expected to be dismissed at his Jan. 20 sentencing as part of the plea agreement.

According to the criminal complaint in the case, St. Marie received free or reduced-price sex in exchange for his services.

The complaint gives further details:

Minneapolis police began an investigation of St. Marie more than two years ago after a man who had visited a prostitute contacted them. The informant said St. Marie was advertising the women online.

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Police set up surveillance at the Radisson University Hotel in Minneapolis in August 2008. St. Marie gave a prostitute an appointment list with men she would see.

In October 2008, he rented another room there and announced in an online ad that a prostitute would be available.

Police got a search warrant for the room. The male patron told investigators that St. Marie had set up the encounter. The woman said she had an agreement with St. Marie whereby she would provide sexual services and he would provide "nice guys" -- men he said were safe and would pay well.

The case is being handled by the Ramsey County attorney's office to avoid a potential conflict of interest.

Unlike other cases, St. Marie's appearance was not listed on the court

docket for reasons that are unclear. He had been scheduled for a Dec. 13 hearing.

Distributed by McClatchy-Tribune Information Services.

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