Court records: Prostitute blackmailed prominent local doctor out of nearly $50K
A Rochester man was coerced into paying a prostitute $48,000 out of fear the woman would ruin his reputation, according to court documents.
Dontania Danielle Petrie, 26, faces a felony count of coercion-threat to expose a secret or disgrace. She made her first court appearance last week.
The victim in the case, a prominent section leader at Mayo Clinic, tipped off local authorities about Petrie's activity on Aug. 18. By that time, he had already given Petrie tens of thousands of dollars, purchased her a Mercedes and given her his bank records — all in an effort to keep her silent about his behavior.
According to the criminal complaint, it all started on Aug. 4 when the victim contacted Petrie via Backpage.com, a site known for prostitution. That same day, the male went to Petrie's home and paid her $150 in exchange for oral sex.
The following morning, Petrie began contacting the man and threatening to "start telling people about the prostitution transaction and ruining his reputation," says the complaint. Petrie also allegedly told him she had a covert video that was made during the previous day's encounter.
Over the course of the next two days, the victim paid Petrie $5,000 in exchange for an SD card. He "pleaded with Petrie for the blackmail to be over," but Petrie told him "We'll talk," says the complaint.
Then on Aug. 7, Petrie reached out to the victim and asked him to meet again. This time, according to investigators, Petrie said she "needed more money and a car, among other things." They reached an agreement on $17,500 cash.
This would happen one more time before the victim finally went to authorities. At one point, Petrie even convinced him to write a notarized letter explaining the money for the vehicle was "a gift." He later told authorities it was "certainly not a gift, but another way of meeting demands in fear of being exposed." Petrie also threatened multiple times to show up to his front door and "introduce herself" to his wife, the victim said.
Police executed a search warrant of Petrie's home on Aug. 19. They found four mobile phones, two of which had numbers known to the victim, as well as the buyer's order for the vehicle (purchased by Petrie with money provided by the victim). The victim's bank records were found inside the car.
In exchange for his cooperation, the man has not been charged in the case. A Mayo Clinic spokesperson confirmed on Tuesday that they are aware of the case and that the man is still employed at the clinic.
Petrie, meanwhile, is due back in court in November. She also faces charges stemming from a separate incident back in July.
Note: We are choosing not to identify the male victim in this story because a) he has not been criminally charged b) it does not serve any journalistic purpose or social benefit. The man's name is listed on a public document (which we have a copy of) that has since been sealed. In response to our inquiry to Mayo Clinic, the victim's lawyer, Gary Gittus, called us in an attempt to intimidate us from mentioning any details regarding the victim or his employer. We chose to proceed by ignoring his threats and making our own ethical decision.
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(Cover graphic: File / CC)