The Minnesota Supreme Court suspended a Chaska attorney from practicing law for at least the next three years on June 17.
The petition for disciplinary action against Mark Allen Lichtenwalter was filed by the Director of the Office of Lawyers Professional Responsibility for attempting to solicit sex from a 12-year-old child, according to court documents.
The order, signed by Justice David Lillehaug, included a dissenting opinion from Justice Anne McKeig, who wrote that she believed his misconduct “calls for stronger discipline.”
Lichtenwalter is indefinitely suspended with no right to petition for reinstatement for three years. He was also ordered to pay $900 in costs and $65 in disbursement.
The action stems from a case in Ramsey County District Court, in which Lichtenwalter was sentenced for Solicit Child or Believe to be a Child Through Electronic Communication to Engage in Sexual Conduct in March, according to court documents. A charge of prostitution was dismissed.
He will be on probation for three years and was ordered to serve 90 days at the Ramsey County Correctional Facility. The judge approved 60 days be served via home detention/electric monitoring, according to court documents.
As part of the sentence, Lichtenwalter was ordered to serve 15 months in the Minnesota Correctional Facility, which is stayed for three years.
In January, Lichtenwalter plead guilty to the felony charge. The judge ordered he register as a predatory offender.
Calls for comment to the prosecutor involved in the case were not returned.
The Chaska resident thought he was texting the father of a 12-year-old girl before he was arrested in August 2018, court files state.
In July 2018, an undercover Homeland Security agent posted an advertisement on a social media site known to attract people looking for illicit photographs and sexual services, according to the criminal complaint.
“The post read, ‘Never have I ever felt guilty about being attracted to younger.’ The post provided basic demographic information about the undercover persona,” the complaint says.
Four minutes after the post was published, the agent allegedly received a message from Lichtenwalter, who used the name Seth Bullock. He allegedly asked the agent “How young” and later sent explicit messages.
Then the agent told Lichtenwalter he had a 12-year-old daughter, according to the complaint. Lichtenwalter allegedly asked if he engaged in sexual activity with his daughter and if she had been with others sexually and reportedly later told the undercover agent what he wanted to do with the child.
The two discussed renting a hotel room for a sex exchange between the child and Lichtenwalter and made arrangements to meet at a St. Paul hotel on Aug. 1, the complaint states.
Lichtenwalter allegedly said he would bring gifts for the 12-year-old, such as body paint, makeup, balloons and massage oil.
“Lichtenwalter also wanted to take the 12-year-old bikini shopping and panty shopping at a lingerie store, saying he would buy her clothes if he could watch her in the dressing room,” the investigation stated.
The agent tracked Lichtenwalter to a retail store in Minnetonka and received text messages from him of blue Umbro shorts, makeup, baby oil, balloons and lip gloss, the complaint states. Lichtenwalter allegedly asked if he thought his “daughter” would like those gifts. Lichtenwalter was then observed purchasing the items.
The morning of Aug. 1, Lichtenwalter and the agent resumed texting and the agent informed him he had rented a room at a hotel in St. Paul, the complaint states.
“Lichtenwalter stated he had to get condoms and gas before he arrived at the hotel,” court records state.
He was immediately placed under arrest at about 11 a.m. and was observed as having his pants unzipped and not wearing underwear, the court documents say. He had child-sized Umbro shorts, eye makeup, baby oil, a bag of balloons, glitter lip gloss and condoms, all of which were seized by authorities.