MANKATO — A Minnesota Department of Corrections probation agent is the fifth person to be charged with soliciting a prostitute from a sting that started in November.
Shane Michael Sellner, 42, of Eagle Lake, was placed on paid administrative leave after the department learned about the allegations, said John Schadl, Department of Corrections communications director.
Sellner works as a felony probation agent in Brown County, earns just under $60,000 per year and has been an agent for nine years. He also worked with Drug Court participants there.
In November, Det. Jim Card with the Mankato Department of Public Safety received information about a prostitute who had been working in the Mankato area about two years. The information was provided by investigator Marc Chadderdon of the Nicollet County Sheriff's Department. The woman told Chadderdon she had a client named Shane who regularly responded to her advertisements on Backpages.com.
Chadderdon told her to stay in touch with Shane, who was later identified as Sellner, according to the criminal complaint filed in Blue Earth County District Court. Her last encounter with him had been on Nov. 11, which is just under three weeks before four other men were caught in a sting involving area law enforcement and the same woman on Nov. 20.
On Dec. 12 the woman called Chadderdon to tell him Sellner had called her and a meeting had been set up for Dec. 15 at the Riverside Suites hotel near the intersection of Highway 14 and Highway 169. The Nov. 20 sting that resulted in four other men being charged took place at the nearby Days Inn hotel on the other side of Highway 169. Those men were charged with felonies because the hotel is near a city park.
Chadderdon, Card and other officers were at the hotel waiting with the woman when Sellner arrived. While the investigators and woman were in a room, Sellner called and told the woman he had arrived at the hotel, the complaint said. The investigators left and a few minutes later Sellner knocked on the woman's room door.
The woman and Sellner had a conversation that lasted several minutes before the investigators entered the room to detain him. Sellner had an open box of condoms in his hand and $40 in cash had been set on a table. Another $22 in cash was found in Sellner's front pocket.
When Sellner was interviewed, he told Card he had been making poor decisions because he had been involved in a car crash. Sellner crashed into the back of a FedEx delivery van the morning of Aug. 26 after it stopped quickly for someone making a left turn. The crash happened on Highway 14 about three miles west of Nicollet, and Sellner was taken to the hospital in Mankato with injuries that weren't life threatening.
Sellner refused to answer any questions about previous meetings with the woman or other women until there "was some kind of 'deal' on the table," the complaint said. Text messages recovered from the woman's cellphone showed she and Sellner had exchanged texts at least 17 times between Aug. 8, 2013, and Aug. 5, 2014. The woman told investigators the only time she had contact with Sellner was to arrange meetings for sex.
The Department of Corrections was able to say there is currently a work-related complaint against Sellner, but what the complaint is about only becomes public if there is any disciplinary action. The information will remain out of the public domain if Sellner resigns before disciplinary action is taken.
Any allegation of any type of sexual relationship between a corrections agent and an offender are thoroughly investigated by the department, said Schadl, the DOC spokesman. Corrections agents are in a position of authority, so if there is that type of relationship, it could be seen as a violation of the federal Prison Rape Elimination Act.
The criminal complaint filed against Sellner does not say whether the woman involved in the sting knew his occupation.
Sellner does not have a listed telephone number and could not be reached for comment.