(Minnesota, April 2015) Mark Toogood, a Human Services Employee who has a long history working with the Guardian ad Litem Program, has been busted in a recent prostitution sting.
Toogood is accused of solicitating an undercover agent, posing as a prostitute off Backpage’s Erotic Services section.
The complaint against Toogood reads: “On April 3 at 8:45 a.m., Toogood called the number the officer advertised and, during calls and texts, made an appointment. Toogood showed up at 1 p.m. to the hotel room where the officer was, and hugged and kissed her. He “told the officer that he wanted an hour of her time, so there would be some time to relax,” the complaint said. She told him it would cost $150 and he agreed to wear a condom.”
According to the bio posted in the 2009 Annual Conference for the Minnesota Guardian ad Litem Program: “Mark Toogood—Mark is the first manager of the Minnesota Judicial Branch State Guardian Ad Litem Program and now serves as both State GAL Program Manager and Manager of the Family Services Unit in the Court Services Division in the State Court Administrator’s Office. He has shepherded and led the transition of the GAL Program as it has become state funded and administered by the judicial districts, a process that began in 2001. Mark has been a certified guardian ad litem trainer since 1997, and served as Senior Coordinator of Volunteers in the Hennepin County Guardian Ad Litem Program. He has also been an Assistant Manager in Children’s Services Administration of the Minnesota Department of Human Services. Mark earned his BA and MSW from the University of Minnesota.”
Mark Toogood is also listed as a member of the Minnesota State Guardian ad Litem Board, with his term ending in Jan 7, 2019: http://mn.gov/guardian-ad-litem/Program_Info/board.jsp
Toogood was originally appointed to the Board in 2010 by the Supreme Court: http://www.mncourts.gov/?page=NewsItemDisplay&item=50333
The St. Paul city attorney’s office charged Toogood with patronizing prostitution, a gross misdemeanor. He could face up to a year in prison, and a $3,000 fine. Samuel Clark, St. Paul’s city attorney, says prosecuting johns in St. Paul “is a priority of mine“.
Toogood has been released from jail and has declined to make a public comment.
The Department of Human Services has placed Toogood on an “indefinite leave of absence”. No word yet on Toogood’s involvement with the Board. In fact, it seems the local media is not yet reporting Toogood’s involvement with the GAL program.
Prostitution is a serious crime that involves the sexual exploitation and abuse of another human being. 75% of women become involved in prostitution when they are children, the average age being 13 years old. The murder rate for a prostitute is over 20x the national average, there are also high rates of rape among prostitutes. In a recent study, 92% if women reported they wanted to leave prostitution but could not due to lack of money or food.
If the evidence proves that Toogood did solicit a prostitute, he should certainly resign from the State GAL Board, and be prohibited from training any Guardians in the future. This is not the kind of behavior or values that supports the best interest of children, or promotes healthy outcomes for families.
UPDATE: On July 22, 2015, Toogood plead guilty to “prostitution – hires, offers, or agrees to prostitution in a public place”. He was placed on supervised probation and sent to “John School”. Toogood was discharged from probation in August 2016.
“Former State Children’s Service Manager Busted for Soliciting Hooker” by Susan Du, The City Pages, 4/22/2015: http://blogs.citypages.com/blotter/2015/04/former_manager_of_minnesota_childrens_services_busted_for_prostitution.php
“Minnesota Human Services administrator charged in St. Paul prostitution sting” by Mara H. Gottfried, St. Paul Pioneer Press, 4/21/2015: http://www.wdaz.com/news/3727261-minnesota-human-services-administrator-charged-st-paul-prostitution-sting
Prostitution Facts: http://www.rapeis.org/activism/prostitution/prostitutionfacts.html
The Prostitution Statistics You Have to Know: http://sex-crimes.laws.com/prostitution/prostitution-statistics