NASCAR drops affiliation with Connecticut track after owner charged in human sex trafficking ring
NASCAR immediately has severed its relationship with the Connecticut-based New London-Waterford Speedbowl racetrack after the track’s owner was arrested for alleged involvement in a human sex trafficking ring, The Hartford Courant reported Thursday.
NASCAR’s Home Tracks announced on its verified Twitter account: “NASCAR has terminated the NASCAR Whelen All-American Series sanction and the NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour race sanction with the New London-Waterford Speedbowl, effective immediately.”
NASCAR’s action comes after the arrest of New London-Waterford Speedbowl owner Bruce Bemer, one of three men charged by police who said they “enticed young men with mental health problems into a human trafficking prostitution ring with the lure of money, drugs and vehicles,” according to The Courant.
Bemer, 63, of Glastonbury, Connecticut, and William Trefzger, 71, of Westport (Conn.) were arraigned Thursday in Danbury (Conn.) Superior Court and charged with patronizing a trafficked person. A third man, Robert King (age not provided) of Danbury, previously had been arrested.
Bemer and Trefzger are being held on $500,000 bond apiece, according to The Courant.
Bemer owns the Speedbowl as well a Glastonbury (Conn.) fuel business, while Trefzger is a convicted sex offender, according to The Courant.
According to a Danbury police press release, “This ring is alleged to have exploited young males with mental health issues by delivering them to wealthy ‘clients’ throughout Connecticut for the purpose of [having] sex for money.”
Police have identified 15 victims – including some under the age of 18 – that have “significant mental health needs,” according to the police press release.
The Courant said police expect to make additional arrests.
According to the arrest warrant, “King would fraudulently befriend these young males, offer them work, money, food and other fake inducements, exploit weakness which is often drug based, and provide them with illegal drugs to the point they were financially indebted to him.”
The Courant also said that in an affidavit given to police, “Bemer stated that he believed that during a 20- to 25-year period, King brought him eight to 10 different boys for sex, most on multiple occasions. Bemer stated that he paid approximately $200-250 per occasion.”
Despite the charges against Bemer and NASCAR ending the Whelen racing sanction, the Speedbowl’s web site is still operating as of 3:30 p.m. ET Thursday and still includes a full schedule that is set to run from the 3/8-mile asphalt track’s opening day on May 5 through Oct. 22.
Seven members of the track’s management team resigned en masse Tuesday in light of Bemer’s indictment. Former chief steward Eric Webster told The Norwich (Conn.) Bulletin that the racing season at the track is in doubt.
“I don’t know if it’s going to open now or not,” Webster told The Bulletin. “Basically the people that walked out (Tuesday), that’s it. I don’t know how they can run without that to be honest with you.”