Elko man charged in prostitution of minors at Eagan hotel
An Elko man faces four counts of engaging in prostitution with a minor for allegedly meeting two teenage girls for sex in Eagan.
Mickey Albert Cupkie, 36, who was charged on June 21, admitted he used a smartphone while at his St. Paul job to look up the 16 and 17-year-old on Backpage.com, according to the criminal complaint.
Explicit photos of both girls were posted in the ad along with their cell phone numbers.
Minneapolis police had been tracking the 16-year-old girl in May after suspecting the runaway was forced into prostitution.
Once the officers tracked down the girls, both teens said they were forced into prostitution at an Eagan hotel.
Using phone records and video surveillance, officers identified Cupkie as one of three men who paid the girls for sex on May 9.
Cupkie was arrested on June 6 and allegedly admitted during an interview with police he paid the girls for sex.
He admitted to engaging in oral sex with the 16-year-old girl, but it is unclear whether he engaged in the same acts with the 17-year-old girl, according to the complaint.
Cupkie did confess, though, that the girl touched him sexually and was at least partiality undressed.
He also said he felt the girls were “too young to be engaging in prostitution.”
The Eagan incident is one of several connected to ads on Backpage.com, causing its owner, Village Voice Media, to be under fire by local authorities and advocacy groups.
The Ramsey County Attorney’s Office and victim advocates have called for the media company to close its adult-themed section.
“Again, we are presented with a case involving the selling of Minnesota children for sex on Backpage.com at a suburban hotel,” Ramsey County Attorney John Choi said in a statement. “We will vigorously prosecute this case against the defendant, and the investigation involving the traffickers is ongoing.”
Village Voice Media, which also owns City Pages, has said in a recent Star Tribune report that it doesn’t intend to profit from prostitution and that it is working with local authorities to find “workable solutions.”
Cupkie is scheduled to appear in Ramsey District Court July 5.
If convicted, Cupkie could face up to 10 years in prison on each count.