MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) -- A 38-year-old Lakeville man and middle school principal has been charged after he allegedly attempted to hire a 15-year-old for sex.
According to charges filed in Hennepin County, Mohamed Selim faces one felony count of prostitution involving hiring someone who he believed to be between the ages of 13 and 16 for sex or sexual contact.
Selim was one of four men arrested Tuesday during the multi-jurisdiction law enforcement operation in St. Louis Park. Three have since been released from jail, but Selim was held in jail due to his position of authority working with children, the complaint said. He is the principal of Eagle Ridge Middle School in Savage.
The complaint states Selim responded to an ad offering prostitution services, which was actually set up by the law enforcement sting. He allegedly attempted to meet up with a girl he believed to be 15 years old, but she was an undercover officer. After the undercover officer provided rates for Selim, he said he would head over in a half hour.
Selim arrived in St. Louis Park expecting to see the girl, but was arrested, the complaint said. He had $208 in cash on him.
According to the complaint, Selim was distraught and said that his life and career were over when he was being arrested.
Savage police say there are no known complaints or allegations related to Selim within the city. Anyone with more information is advised to contact the Minnesota Bureau of Criminal Apprehension at 651-793-7000.
If convicted, he could face up to 10 years in prison. He's scheduled to make his first court appearance Friday afternoon.
'Hard Day For The School And For The District'
The Burnsville-Eagan-Savage School District released a statement to WCCO, calling the allegations "upsetting" and that the district's main concern is for the well-being of its students.
"This is a hard day for the school and for the district," Superintendent Dr. Theresa Battle said. "It will be difficult for all of us to process this. At the same time, we will continue our commitment to providing a high quality education and experience for students as we finish the school year."
The district said Selim "will not be at work at this time" and support will be available for students and staff. Associate Principal Bill Heim will now serve as acting principal.
St. Louis Park police say the undercover operation was part of a statewide response aimed at ending human trafficking and exploitation.
The Minnesota Department of Health says if you suspect someone of being trafficked, don't try to rescue them, get help instead. Call police, or the Day One Hotline at 1-866-223-1111.
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