Man working Super Bowl charged with prostituting kids

Justin Beard, 33, of Branson, Missouri (Credit: Hennepin Co. Jail)
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MINNEAPOLIS - A man in the Twin Cities to work Super Bowl 52 has been charged with two counts of prostitution of children under 16, Hennepin County Attorney Mike Freeman announced last week.

Justin Beard, 33, of Branson, Missouri, was arrested when he responded to a Craigslist ad that had been placed by a sex-trafficking taskforce.

Law enforcement made a concerted effort to monitor sex crimes and sex trafficking during Super Bowl 52.

“This will make them aware that if they are engaging in this activity, we are watching, we will arrest you and we will charge you,” Freeman said during a news conference on Thursday.

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Charges state that Beard saw the ad and began texting to the number provided, thinking he was talking first to the man trafficking a 15-year-old girl and a 13-year-old boy and then thought he was texting with the girl. In all cases, he was communicating with undercover agents.

He eventually offered two VIP tickets to a Super Bowl event, which he said were worth $100 each, according to the complaint. When he showed up at the Minnetonka apartment where he was directed to go, he was arrested by police.