GORHAM, Maine — Three Gorham residents charged with holding a 19-year-old woman against her will and forcing her to engage in sex acts to earn her keep “met” her on the dating website Plenty of Fish and brought her to Gorham from a teen shelter in New Hampshire, according to court documents.
Klein Fernandes, 27, and Tamika Dias, 34, are each charged with two counts of Class B aggravated sex trafficking, while 31-year-old Jeremy Seeley is charged with two counts of misdemeanor sex trafficking.
Fernandes, who was previously convicted of Class A robbery, allegedly admitted to police that he is a member of the Crips street gang and bears the letters BK — allegedly for “Blood Killer” — on his cheek.
On March 14, investigators executed a search warrant at the suspects’ shared home on Woodland Road in Gorham, at which time all three allegedly admitted to the allegations that led to the sex trafficking charges.
Aggravated sex trafficking, a Class B felony, carries a maximum sentence of up to 10 years in prison for each offense. Sex trafficking is a Class D crime with a maximum sentence of 364 days in jail for each offense.
According to an affidavit filed by Gorham Detective Sgt. Dana Thompson, a South Portland woman on March 7 reported her 19-year-old niece missing and said she had found the teen advertised on Backpage.com.
South Portland police served Backpage with a subpoena and allegedly learned that the escort ad was paid for by Fernandes and Dias.
On March 12, police located the teen at a local shelter and made arrangements for her to stay at a safe house. She subsequently told police that while she was living in a homeless shelter in New Hampshire, she met a man she knew as “Grim” — later identified as Fernandes — on the dating website Plenty of Fish.
The teen said Fernandes “told her she could come live with him,” according to police. “He offered to feed her and take care of her if she moved in. She agreed.”
Fernandes and Dias — who the teen said she knew as “Boss” — allegedly brought the girl to their Gorham home, where she met Seeley, who is Dias’ fiancee.
The following day, Klein “told her she had to make some money,” and took cellphone photos of her. Dias allegedly posted the photos to Backpage.
Over two weeks in early March, the teen allegedly had sex for money with approximately 15 men and one woman. Klein and Seeley allegedly drove her to the “dates,” and she gave them the money afterwards. She allegedly told Klein she wanted to stop and offered to get “a real job,” but he told her she had no choice, according to the affidavit.
The teen said Klein told her he was going to sell her to a Boston “pimp” for $30,000.
The victim later contacted a friend, who picked her up from the house. She stayed in the teen shelter until contacted by police.
The victim allegedly admitted to police that “she had previously been sex trafficked by another pimp who involved her in the commercial sex trade.”
Police said Fernandes admitted taking the teen on “dates” in Lewiston and Old Orchard Beach, and discussing a fee, but “denied being a ‘pimp’ because he didn’t make much money and he never beat [the victim],” Thompson wrote in the affidavit.
Dias allegedly admitted taking photos and paying for and posting ads on Backpage, knowing they were for prostitution. Seeley allegedly admitted to police that he and Klein drove the teen to “dates” and that he received cash from the transactions, Thompson wrote.
The three appeared in Cumberland County Unified Court on Wednesday. Fernandes’ bail was increased from $25,000 to $50,000, and he remains in Cumberland County Jail. Dias is being held on $20,000. Both are scheduled to appear in court on June 3.
Seeley was released on $100 bail and is scheduled to appear in court on April 16.
To reach a sexual assault advocate, call the Statewide Sexual Assault Crisis and Support Line at 800-871-7741, TTY 888-458-5599. This free and confidential 24-hour service is accessible from anywhere in Maine. Calls are automatically routed to the closest sexual violence service provider.