Member of St. Croix Catholic School’s Board of Directors Arrested in Prostitution Sting
Thomas Allen Houle, 46, of Stillwater, was one of 19 men charged with misdemeanors during the two-day police operation conducted at the LivInn Hotel in Fridley. He is listed as a member of St. Croix Catholic School's Board of Directors.
In addition to the arrest of Woodbury resident—and former Hill-Murray football coach—Mark Mauer in a prostitution sting in Fridley last month, another community leader also faces charges stemming from the police operation.
A member of the St. Croix Catholic School’s Board of Directors was also arrested for allegedly soliciting sex from an undercover police officer.
Calls placed to Houle requesting comment were not returned.
Camille Kiolbas, St. Croix Catholic’s development director, said the school is aware of a “matter that is under investigation,” and referred all questions to the Fridley Police Department.
The board is appointed by, and works in partnership with, the principal and the canonical administrator “to ensure Catholic identity, superior academics, sound governance and financial stability,” the school’s website states.
According to police:
On Feb. 19, Houle responded to an ad police placed in the escort section of the website backpage.com. The undercover officer—posing as an escort—answered a phone call from a man identifying himself as “Tom,” who allegedly asked the officer how much she charged for one hour, to which the officer replied $150.
Houle then allegedly asked if the “escort” was a member of any type of law enforcement, the report states. The undercover cop replied, she was not—and Houle then allegedly agreed to pay $150 for one hour.
Just after 1:15 p.m., Houle arrived at the LivInn Hotel, where the undercover cop escorted him to a room with video and audio surveillance, the report states.
Once inside the room, the police officer reportedly asked Houle what he was looking for, when “he became nervous and told me he was going to leave,” the report states. “When I asked why he was leaving, he stated he was leaving because I was talking like a cop.”
Houle then allegedly asked the undercover officer to prove she was not a cop.
”When I asked what I needed to do, he asked to grab my breast,” the report states. Houle allegedly agreed to pay for sex, and asked once again, if the “escort” was a police officer.
“I told him again that I wasn’t,” the report states. “He then gave me $150 in cash I requested, plus a $50 tip.”
That’s when Fridley police rushed in and made the arrest.
When conducting a “prostitution detail,” police find that people from all walks of life respond to the ads seeking money for sex, Lt. Mike Monsrud of the Fridley Police Department said.
“We see everyone from professionals and executives to the unemployed responding to these ads,” Monsrud said. “In this case we had people responding to the ad from as far away as Stillwater and Woodbury to Delano and Cedar.”
Police refer to the operation as a “prostitution detail,” not a “sting,” Monsrud said. If someone asks an undercover officer if she is a cop during a prostitution detail, she is not required to say yes.
“This is not entrapment,” he said. “We place an ad—just like the hundreds of others on these websites—offering money for sex. We didn’t make them call us in response to the ad. We didn’t make them call a second time to confirm where the act would take place. We didn’t make them call a third time to be let into the room. And we didn’t make them ask for sex. We did nothing to make them do this—we don’t believe this is entrapment at all, and there has been a court precedent set backing us up on that.”