SD Democrat withdraws from legislative after solicitation arrest

By Rob Port | Watchdog.org North Dakota Bureau

SOLICITING STING: South Dakota Democrat David Skoglund, right, and Forum Communications employee Mark Hayes, left, were arrested in Moorhead, Minn., and charged with soliciting prostitution. Both men are facing misdemeanor charges.

FARGO, N.D. — A South Dakota Democrat running for a seat in that state’s Legislature has withdrawn his candidacy after he was caught in a prostitution sting in Moorhead.

David Skoglund had been seeking a seat in the state House representing District 8. His party was quick to disavow his alleged crime.

“The South Dakota Democratic Party did not know of Mr. Skoglund’s illegal activity, and we unequivocally condemn his deplorable actions,” the party said in a released statement. “We demand he remove his name from the ballot immediately.”

Also arrested in the sting was Mark Hayes of Harwood, an employee of Forum Communications, a company that owns several media outlets, including The Forum of Fargo-Moorhead. Hayes works as the Information Technology director for Forum Communications.

Both Hayes and Skoglund are facing misdemeanor charges of soliciting prostitution, according to Lt. Tory Jacobson of the Moorhead Police Department. The arrests occurred a week ago. Skoglund withdrew his candidacy over the weekend after the charges became public.

Hayes is the second Forum Communications employee to be arrested on charges related to prostitution.

Bobby Abplanalp, a sports editor for the Dickinson Press, a Forum-owned daily newspaper in western North Dakota, was arrested in Burleigh County in June 2013, accused of trying to solicit sex from a person younger than 18. He faced felony human trafficking charges, but according to North Dakota’s online criminal records database, the charges against Abplanalp were dismissed in September of 2013.

You can reach Rob Port at rport@watchdog.org

Rob Port is the editor of SayAnythingBlog.com, a columnist for the Forum News Service, and host of the Plain Talk Podcast which you can subscribe to by clicking here.

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