WALNUT GROVE, Minn. - A small town Minnesota police chief has been "suspended without pay indefinitely" after being caught in a minor prostitution sting.
Redwood County prosecutors have charged 45-year-old Michael Robert Zeug with prostitution-attempting to hire a minor under 18. The charge is a felony and carries the possibility of a five-year prison sentence, $10,000 fine or both.
The criminal complaint filed against Zeug details how he was busted as part of a covert operation to target men in southwest Minnesota trying to hire minors for sex. Members of the task force posted an ad on Craigslist offering sexual services in exchange for cash and Zeug responded to the ad, thinking he was communicating with a 17-year-old girl. Instead, it was an undercover officer who arranged to have sex with Zeug at a home in Redwood Falls.
Prosecutors say during the conversation to set up the sexual encounter the undercover officer told Zeug that the reason for the Craigslist ad was "just like to make a little extra money here and there ya know? plus, I like to **** so why not!!" Correspondence reveals that Zeug responded, "yeah this isn’t my first time" and "humm yeah I’m wanting to meet up but man you need to reassure me your not working with the cops and crap."
Electronic communication revealed that Zeug also sent the undercover officer several messages that were sexual in nature, and requested nude photos. He also asked that the 17-year-old flash her breasts at him as he drove by so he could make sure no cops were involved.
Zeug was arrested after driving several laps around the home where the two were supposed to meet. When taken into custody, he had a police radio on him. The defendant was previously listed on the Walnut Grove city website as police chief, but as of Monday afternoon that posting had been taken down.
Walnut Grove City Clerk Paula McGarvey tells KARE 11 that at a special meeting Monday night, the city council decided to suspend Zeug without pay indefinitely.