UMN staff member arrested after responding to fake prostitution ad

A staff member in the School of Public Health was arrested on Wednesday.

by Norah Kleven

A University of Minnesota staff member was arrested Wednesday in Rochester for responding to a false prostitution advertisement created by law enforcement. 

Solen Feyissa was arrested and charged after agreeing to pay $150 in exchange for services and had planned to meet with who he thought was a prostitute at a local hotel, according to reporting from KAAL TV in Rochester, Minnesota.

Feyissa is a staff member in the School of Public Health’s Office of E-Learning Services, according to a statement from University spokesperson Chuck Tombarge.

When arrested, Feyissa said he responded because he was “curious about how [prostitutes] lives are lived.” He said he was conducting research related to his position as a Web Technologies staff member at the University in the Twin Cities. 

Rochester police said the statement Feyissa gave upon arrest differed from the conversations he had online with the fake prostitute. 

Feyissa was charged with a gross misdemeanor and engaging in prostitution in a public place. 

“The University of Minnesota is aware of recent allegations involving a current employee, and will be monitoring the situation closely,” the University’s statement read.

Correction: a previous version of this article misstated Feyissa’s position at the University.