NEW BRITAIN - A city attorney filed court papers Tuesday to freeze $5 million in assets on behalf of a victim who claims he was abused as part of a Danbury-based human trafficking ring that police say exploited young men with mental health issues, delivering them to wealthy clients to have sex for money.
Authorities arrested 63-year-old Bruce Bemer of Glastonbury and 71-year-old William Trefzger of Westport, March 28 charging them each with patronizing a trafficked person.
Bemer owns the New London-Waterford Speedbowl and Bemer Petroleum Corp. in Glastonbury.
Danbury police and the New Haven office of the FBI said they believe the ring may have been operating for decades.
New Britain-based Attorney Kevin C. Ferry filed an intent to sue against Bemer in Hartford Superior Court and also asked to have $5 million of his assets frozen as the criminal and civil case plays out. His client was 15 when Bemer initiated sexual activity with the teen, said Ferry who estimated that potentially the scheme involved hundreds of victims. “We’d like to put Bemer completely out of business,” Ferry said.
His client suffered sexual abuse for several years as did a client who was an adult when the activity started, the attorney said. His firm, the Law Office of Kevin C. Ferry, LLC., could file a lawsuit on behalf of the adult client because the statute of limitations had run out. The statute of limitations for minor victims of sex crimes is much longer. The abuse happened to the teen 20 to 23 years ago, Ferry said.
Neither of his clients are part of the criminal case.
Ferry said one of his goals was to let other victims know they should come forward. “The victims should stop feeling like victims and they should contact someone,” he said. “Their lives were seriously impacted and we can help clients get counseling.”
According to arrest warrants, a Danbury resident named Robert King befriended the young men by plying them with money and drugs. He’s accused of pushing the young men into prostitution after they built up substantial drug debts.
King, 50, was previously arrested and charged with promoting prostitution and witness tampering in connection to the investigation.
Police said he delivered the young men to Bemer, Trefzger and at least four other clients, according to the affidavits. One of the victims told investigators he was looking for bottles in the trash when King approached him and offered money to cut is lawn. King told investigators last year that he “only brought the boys to the clients.” He then stopped the interview, saying he wanted to talk to a lawyer.
Information from the Associated Press was included in this story.
Lisa Backus can be reached at 860-801-5066 or Lbackus@newbritainherald.com.