PORTLAND, Maine — A Gorham man charged in March with holding a 19-year-old woman against her will and forcing her to engage in sex acts pleaded guilty on Tuesday to aggravated assault and misdemeanor sex trafficking and was sentenced to five years in prison.
Klein Fernandes, 27, was initially charged, along with 34-year-old Tamika Dias, with aggravated sex trafficking and sex trafficking.
Dias’ boyfriend, Jeremy Seeley, 31, who lived with Fernandes and Dias on Woodland Road in Gorham, was charged with misdemeanor sex trafficking.
According to an affidavit filed by Gorham police 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, a website allegedly used to arrange sexual encounters for money.
Prosecutors said Fernandes and Dias brought the girl to their Gorham home and advertised photos of her on Backpage.
Over two weeks in early March, the teen allegedly had sex for money with about 15 men and one woman. Fernandes and Seeley allegedly drove her to the “dates,” and she gave them the money afterwards. She allegedly told Fernandes 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 Fernandes 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.
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 Fernandes drove the teen to “dates” and that he received cash from the transactions, Thompson wrote.
Police said at the time that Fernandes, who was previously convicted of Class A robbery, admitted that he is a member of the Crips street gang and bears the letters BK — allegedly for “Blood Killer” — on his cheek.
On Tuesday, Fernandes pleaded guilty to felony aggravated assault, for assaulting the woman with a knife, and two misdemeanor counts of sex trafficking, or promoting prostitution. The two counts of aggravated sex trafficking, or compelling someone into prostitution, were dismissed, according to court documents.
Justice William Broderick sentenced Fernandes to five years in prison for the aggravated assault charge, and 364 days in prison for each of the sex trafficking charges, all to be served concurrently.
In addition to the aggravated sex trafficking and sex trafficking charges, Dias is charged, in a separate case with misusing an EBT card and theft by deception. She has pleaded not guilty to all the charges and remains in jail, held on $20,000 bail. Dias is scheduled to appear in court July 15.
Seeley pleaded not guilty to two counts of misdemeanor sex trafficking. In a separate case, he is charged with misusing EBT cards and violating conditions of release. He remains in Cumberland County Jail and is scheduled to appear in court July 15.
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.