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Wednesday, June 28 Local

More victims of Danbury sex ring come forward

DANBURY, Connecticut — The scope of a decades-long sex trafficking ring in the city began widening this week with lawyers saying there could be hundreds of victims, including young teens.

Attorney Joel Faxon filed a motion Thursday seeking to add two more purported victims to a lawsuit he filed last week against those authorities say were involved in the ring, while a New Britain attorney filed a separate suit this week on behalf of a victim he said was 15 at the time of the alleged abuse.

“There are a lot more victims who are coming forward who want to make sure that this doesn’t happen to anyone else again,” Faxon said Thursday. “The only way to shut down this operation is if these men are in jail and have no access to money. It’s very clear to me this is a wide-ranging, long-term scheme that’s been going on and there could easily be hundreds of victims.”

The legal filings are likely just beginning against Bruce Bemer of Glastonbury and William Trefzger of Westport, who were arrested in March and charged with patronizing a trafficked person. The arrest marks the first time those charges against have been used in Connecticut.

City resident Robert King, who authorities said spearheaded the operation for more than 20 years, was also arrested last month on a number of charges, including human trafficking.

Faxon’s motion, in Bridgeport Superior Court, seeks to freeze at least $10 million in assets from Bemer and Trefzger and prevent the men from transferring their assets in order to preserve the money in the event the lawsuit is successful.

Authorities have alleged that King preyed on young men with disabilities like bi-polar disorder and schizophrenia by giving them with drugs and alcohol. He would then force his victims into prostitution to pay off the significant drug debt they accumulated, court documents state.

Both Bemer and Trefzger admitted to detectives last year during the investigation that they had purchased “boys” from King for their own sexual use. Bemer, the owner of the Waterford Speedbowl and Glastonbury-based Bemer Petroleum, admitted to receiving deliveries of young men from King at places including the racetrack for at least 20 years.

Bemer was the only named defendant in a lawsuit filed Wednesday in Hartford Superior Court by attorney Kevin Ferry for an Enfield man who says he was victimized at age 15. That lawsuit seeks to seize $5 million in assets and claims that Bemer lured the teenager to his office in the petroleum company nearly a dozen times to “engage in a pattern of inappropriate contact and touching him for the purpose of sexual gratification.”

It’s the first time a minor has been identified as a victim in the case, although Faxon said he has also talked to men who have said they were minors when they were victims of the ring. Most of the other victims identified to date have been men in their early 20s. Including filings this week, there are now five victims who have come forward although most are not identified by name in court documents.

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A hearing will be held in Bridgeport Superior Court on April 24 to discuss Faxon’s seizure motion.

Bemer has been released on a $500,000 surety bond while Trefzger remains in custody on a $250,00 cash bond. King is being held in custody on a $750,000 bond.

dperrefort@newstimes.com

 

Dirk Perrefort|Business Reporter

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