New charge filed in Danbury prostitution case
DANBURY - A man accused of pressuring mentally troubled young men into paid sex with wealthy male clients told police he “didn’t know I was causing any harm.”
“My crime was trying to help people,” Robert King insisted in an interview with police recounted in an affidavit filed Friday in Superior Court.
King, 51, was charged Friday with human trafficking, a felony punishable by up to 40 years in prison. He is expected to appear again in court April 26.
King had previously been charged with prostitution and witness-tampering and was being held on $250,000 bond. The bond was raised to $1 million during his arraignment Friday before Judge Dan Shaban.
Two men authorities have identified as King’s main clients, William Trefzger, a previously convicted sex offender from Westport, and Bruce J. Bemer of Glastonbury, were arrested earlier this week.
Police have said that King targeted mentally disturbed young men, most in their early 20s, befriending them, getting them hooked on drugs and then coercing them into prostitution in order to pay off their drug debts. Most of King’s victims had been diagnosed with a variety of mental illnesses including schizophrenia and bipolar disorder.
One victim told police that “the only reason he got into prostitution (was) his psychiatric issues, King providing him with an abundance of heroin, and the debt he owed to King because of the drug use,” the affidavit states.
When interviewed by police, King admitted to delivering the boys to men throughout the state, but said he was “just a gay guy trying to help people.”
Investigators, however, said King showed “extreme indifference” to the young men, including one who overdosed shortly after stopping to buy drugs in Waterbury. King drove the man to Torrington before seeking medical help, court documents state, which nearly resulted in the man’s death.
Police believe another victim who crashed during a car chase with police eight years ago deliberately killed himself. King kept a shrine to the man in his home that included a note the man had written.
“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].”