CBSN

2 Conn. men charged for human trafficking ring linked to young men with mental health issues

Three men are accused of taking part in a sex trafficking ring that exploited young men with mental health issues, according to the FBI and Danbury police.

WFSB

DANBURY, Conn. -- Two Connecticut men were arrested Thursday in connection with 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.

Danbury Police and the New Haven office of the FBI said they believe the ring may have been operating for decades. 

Authorities arrested 63-year-old Bruce Bemer of Glastonbury and 71-year-old William Trefzger of Westport, charging them each with patronizing a trafficked person. Both were being held on $500,000 bonds. 

Robert King of Danbury had previously been arrested in the case and charged with promoting prostitution and witness tampering in connection to the investigation.

The Hartford Courant reports Bemer admitted to investigators in court documents that he’s been paying “boys” for sex for 20-to-25 years. A call to his home went unanswered. 

Hearst Connecticut Media reported that at least 15 men in their early 20s, some with illnesses including schizophrenia and paranoia, were involved in the ring. According to arrest warrants, 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.

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.

The ring itself operated out of Danbury but reached other cities, police said, CBS affiliate WFSB reports.