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Four plead guilty in prostitution sting, others set for trial

Trish Mehaffey, CR Gazette –

CEDAR RAPIDS – Four people charged in a large prostitution sting conducted in June pleaded guilty Wednesday in Linn County Associate District Court.

In all, 37 people were charged with prostitution, an aggravated misdemeanor, according to criminal complaints.

The four who pleaded guilty to prostitution Wednesday are: Stephen Baxley received a deferred sentence and unsupervised probation; Steven R. Baker, ; David R. Collins,; and Emma L. Beadel received a deferred sentence and unsupervised probation. Each also were ordered to pay a fine of $625 and court costs.

The others charged in the sting previously pleaded guilty to prostitution or pleaded not guilty and are set for trial.

Linn County Sheriff Brian Gardner said in June the sting operations took place at multiple hotels in Linn County. According to criminal complaints for some of the defendants charged, male and female undercover officers either sought or offered sex acts in exchange for money. Prices on the services ranged from $180 to $400, according to the complaints.

Gardner said officials first received information about possible prostitution in Linn County when officers worked on a similar bust in Coralville earlier this year. That sting netted 17 arrests. Authorities began investigating the case by placing ads on popular websites, but would not say which sites were used specifically.

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