La Crosse police late Thursday arrested five women during a prostitution sting.
Facing criminal charges are Rosheda Basley, 29, Amanda Lejeune, 24, Sharee McElroy, 44, and Erin Oliver, 32, all of La Crosse, and Tia Johnson, 21, of Eau Claire, Wis.
Investigators and an undercover state agent answered Internet postings for escorts advertising “companionship” and “pleasure” and arranged meetings with 10 women at a North Side hotel, investigator Tony DeLap said.
All five who showed were arrested for prostitution after agreeing to exchange money for sex, he said.
“This won’t be tolerated,” DeLap said.
Authorities also invoked for the first time a new ordinance that allows police to fine unlicensed escorts and dancers.
Anyone claiming to work as an escort or dancer must obtain a $250 license. Police introduced the idea last year as a way to deter prostitution and generate revenue for the city. The ticket carries a hefty $1,311 fine.
“We know this type of activity is fueling other criminal activity,” Assistant Police Chief Rob Abraham said. “The message we’re sending is we know what’s going and we’re going to take action.”
See Saturday’s Tribune or www.lacrossetribune.com for more on this story.