More victims emerge in Danbury sex trafficking ring
Updated 7:36 pm, Thursday, May 18, 2017
DANBURY — Two more alleged victims of a local sex-trafficking ring that targeted disabled young men, including a man who claims to have been sexually assaulted when he was 15, have come forward in new court documents filed Thursday.
The filings in state Superior Court in Bridgeport represent the latest people who said they have been victimized by a sex-trafficking ring authorities said was operated for more than two decades by Robert King, of Danbury, who was arrested on human-trafficking charges in March.
Police say the ring preyed on young men with disabilities including schizophrenia and bipolar disorder. Some of the victims lived in area group homes.
Also arrested on state trafficking charges in March were Westport resident and convicted sex offender William Trefzger, as well as Glastonbury businessman Bruce Bemer, owner of the Waterford Speedbowl, where he allegedly assaulted young men authorities said were victimized by the ring.
“The only way to stop these sick and depraved individuals is by taking their assets and putting them in prison,” said New Haven-based attorney Joel T. Faxon, who is representing at least seven alleged victims in the case or their estates. “We intend to fully cooperate with the state and in the event that there are federal investigations or prosecutions we would fully cooperate with them as well.”
None of the men arrested in connection with the ring are facing federal charges. Faxon declined comment when asked if he been in contact with federal authorities.
On Thursday, Bemer agreed during a court hearing to withhold a certain portion of his assets in the event a judgment is lodged against him as part of the civil filings. Besides owning the Speedbowl, Bemer owns the Bemer Petrolium company in Glastonbury, several helicopters and an extensive collection of antique cars.
“Bemer is willing to pledge certain assets to satisfy a judgment we will undoubtedly obtain at the end of the case,” said Faxon, who filed civil documents in court last month seeking to seize at least $10 million in assets owned by the defendants. “Not only are they facing serious felony criminal charges, but I will make sure they are put out of business permanently.”
During Thursday’s hearing before Judge Barbara Bellis in state Superior Court in Bridgeport, Faxon, said they were withdrawing their request to freeze Trefzger’s assets because the man appears to have little financial means.
“He doesn’t appear to have any assets we can attach,” Faxon told the judge.
Trefzger’s lawyer, Bridgeport attorney Edward Gavin, declined comment.
The victims, according to police, were plied with drugs and alcohol by King and pushed into prostitution when they had racked up significant drug debts. While 15 victims are named in arrest-warrant affidavits, attorneys said there could be hundreds of victims.
The latest filings include a man who said he was abused when he was 15 and another man who authorities claim killed himself during a car chase with police eight years ago, Faxon said.
“These children and young men were preyed upon and intimidated by low-life criminals solely because they were known to be vulnerable,” Faxon said. “As more people have come forward, it is now clear that children were also ensnared in this filthy criminal enterprise.”
King, authorities said, had a shrine in his mobile home, which is located on the west side of the city, to the victim who allegedly killed himself. The shrine included a handwritten note from the victim.
“I felt so angry at Bob at myself guilty ashamed and discusted [sic],” the note states, according to court documents. “What hapened [sic] as an act of survival I was minibilated [sic] and taken advantage of. It wasn’t my falt [sic].”
Staff writer Dan Tepfer contributed to this story.