Mpls. ringleader, johns charged in prostitution sting

  • Article by: PAUL WALSH , Star Tribune
  • Updated: November 13, 2012 - 9:05 PM

Man who recruited teenage girls in treatment facility helped investigators catch men who offered cash for sex.

A 55-year-old Minneapolis man, having been revealed to be prostituting runaway teenage girls, set a trap with law enforcement and lured in johns from various suburbs as they were about to pay for sex, according to police.

Bernard E. Morris was charged in Hennepin County District Court with three felonies for prostituting girls ages 16 and 17 from his home in the 4600 block of 3rd Avenue S. after the teens had slipped out of a treatment facility. Police added that Morris, who will be back in court Nov. 21, had been prostituting "several juvenile females," most of the time out of his home.

According to police:

Officers learned in September that the 16- and 17-year-old girls had fled their treatment facility and were being used as prostitutes "on numerous occasions." Santos Nunez, 62, of Minneapolis, was identified as one customer and charged with prostitution.

At that same time, Morris was identified as the man who recruited girls, arranged johns for them and at times had sex with the teens.

Once under suspicion, Morris agreed in late October to cooperate with investigators and arranged for men to pay for sex with teenage girls at his home.

One of those men, Thanh Bui, 45, of Eagan, was arrested Oct. 25 at Morris' home. Bui was ready to pay $100 for sex with a girl he believed to be 15 or 16 years old. He was charged with two prostitution-related counts, both felonies.

The other man, Phuoc Phong Le, 46, of Shakopee, was lured in by the same sting and also was charged with felonies.

One of the charges against Le stemmed from him recruiting another man, Kham Luu, 50, of Eagan, to visit Morris' home and pay for sex with a teenage girl. Luu was arrested and charged with felonies.

Paul Walsh • 612-673-4482

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