A middle school principal in the Burnsville-Eagan-Savage District is facing a felony prostitution charge after an undercover sting allegedly caught him attempting to buy sex from a minor.
Mohamed Ali Selim, 38, is the principal of Eagle Ridge Middle School in Savage.
According to charges filed in Hennepin County District Court, Selim allegedly drove to St. Louis Park on Tuesday to hire a 15-year-old girl for sex.
Authorities allege Selim responded to a commercial sex advertisement placed online by investigators and began a text conversation with an undercover officer.
According to charges, Selim wrote he would "love to come see" her and asked to meet the same day.
The undercover officer provided rates of $250 per hour, $175 for a half-hour and "extra for upgrades" and Selim indicated he'd meet for a half-hour.
In a recorded phone conversation, Selim allegedly asked what the "session was like" and if it was "full service." The officer, posing as the child, told Selim, "I'm 15, but it's not a problem for me if you're fine with it."
According to charges, Selim laughed and said "ok, that's fine," and then asked, "so, you're 15?"
Selim then stated she was too young and it wasn't going to work, charges state, but then asked where she was located.
Selim said that her age "made him really nervous," charges state, and asked if she was affiliated with the police but he would still come see her so they could "spend some time together."
After hanging up the phone, Selim sent a message reading "let me know if I can come see you now. Please send me the address."
Selim was given the address being used by law enforcement in St. Louis Park.
When he arrived, he messaged to say he was there, tried to call and asked if the girl had an "in-call", a commonly used term for a place patrons meet prostitutes.
Selim drove to a location where he'd been told to pick up the girl and was placed under arrest. He had $200 in cash on him at the time.
According to charges, he was "distraught" and made comments that his life and career was over.
The St. Louis Park, Bloomington, Eden Prairie and Edina police departments, along with the Minnesota Bureau of Criminal Apprehension (BCA), Southwest Hennepin Drug Task Force, Minnesota Human Trafficking Investigators Task Force and Hennepin County Sheriff’s Office participated in the operation.
On Thursday, Savage Police Det. Sgt. Mike Schiltz said the Savage Police Department is unaware of any complaints or allegations related to Selim occurring within the city.
According to the district, associate principal Bill Heim will serve as Eagle Ridge's acting principal and counselors and additional support are available for staff and students.
Selim, a father-of-two, lives in Lakeville and became principal of Eagle Ridge at the beginning of the current school year. Before that, he was principal at William Byrne Elementary in Burnsville, where he won a districtwide award for leadership.
“This is a hard day for the school and for the district,” Superintendent Dr. Theresa Battle said in a statement. “It will be difficult for all of us to process this. At the same time, we will continue our commitment to providing a high quality education and experience for students as we finish the school year.”
Selim remains in custody in the Hennepin County Jail. His bail is set at $100,000. He is due to make his first court appearance Friday.