Walnut Grove Police Chief Agrees to Plead Guilty to Hiring a Minor for Prostitution

According to the Redwood County court records, criminal charges filed against the Walnut Grove police chief arrested in a 2017 prostitution sting won’t go to trial.

A plea hearing was held on Wednesday in Mankato for Michael Robert Zeug, and a petition to enter a guilty plea was filed on Thursday, according to the court records.

Under the terms of the plea agreement, Zeug would plead guilty to consenting to hire a minor for prostitution, court records said. Records also said the court ordered a pre-sentence investigation for Zeug, and a sentencing hearing was set for Sept. 21 in Mankato.

Zeug who is 46, was one of three Minnesota men arrested last year after a covert operation conducted by the BLR Drug Task Force and the Washington County Human Trafficking Task Force. In the sting operation, law enforcement officers posted online advertisements on websites utilized in prostitution and sex trafficking. According to court documents, Zeug allegedly related with an undercover officer acting as a teenage girl.

Zeug was suspended from his duties as chief of the Walnut Grove Police Department after the arrest.

While Zeug was charged in Redwood County District Court, his court case was reassigned to a judge in Blue Earth County last year.

The plea petition filed on Thursday included the terms of a plea agreement for Zeug. Under the terms of the agreement, Zeug would plead guilty to agreeing to hire a minor for prostitution and would be sentenced for a gross misdemeanor instead of a felony. Other terms included a sentence of one year in jail with 275 days stayed, and two years supervised probation. As part of the probation, Zeug would undergo a mental health evaluation, according to the petition.

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