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Thu Sep 30, 2021, 12:03 PM

Ct Supreme Court reverses sex ring conviction of Bruce Bemer

The Connecticut state Supreme Court reversed the high-profile, sex ring conviction of Glastonbury businessman Bruce Bemer Wednesday, finding that prosecutors failed to prove a key element of the crimes with which he was charged:
That he was aware the troubled young men he paid for sex had been forced into prostitution. Police have said Bemer may have been involved with as many as 15 young men, generally paying the young men about $300 for each encounter.

Bemer was accused of, and did not dispute, that he paid thousands of dollars for sex with at least five drug addicted or mentally unstable young men who had been procured for him. Bemer also admitted knowing the men were recruited by Danbury pimp Robert King, with whom he had a long business and personal relationship. But Bemer denied knowing King coerced the young men to become unwilling participants in a male prostitution ring by extortion and the withholding of drugs.

Prosecutors charged Bemer with prostitution crimes requiring proof that he knew or should have known that the young men he paid hundreds of dollars were victims of a trafficking ring. The trafficking element of the crime results in a more serious category of felony and a more severe penalty. The prosecutors argued that Bemer at least should have known of the trafficking from his decadeslong association with King, as well his first hand knowledge of the mental instability or drug dependence of the young men. A Superior Court jury agreed with the prosecution and convicted Bemer on April 2019 of four counts of patronizing a person he should have known was trafficked and a fifth count of being of acting as an accessory to King’s sex trafficking operation.

The Supreme Court, in a unanimous decision written by Justice Raheem L. Mullins, disagreed with both the prosecution and the jury. “In other words, the defendant asserts that the state did not produce sufficient evidence to demonstrate that he knew or reasonably should have known that the men were engaged in prostitution because they had been compelled or induced to do so by means of fraud or coercion,” the court wrote. “We agree.”


Bruce Bemer

Robert King

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