The Sidney father and son charged with sex trafficking were evicted from a North Belgrade house in June because the landlord suspected they were running a prostitution ring at the house, according to a court affidavit released Tuesday.
Frederick Horne Sr., 46, and Frederick Horne Jr., 19, both of 2874 West River Road in Sidney, were charged Thursday for sex trafficking after authorities ransacked the residence and found both Hornes and about a half dozen women at the home.
The affidavit paints a two-year tale of neighborhood suspicions and complaints, police visits for a variety of issues, including an alleged gun threat, and both amateur and official sleuthing.
The women were not charged, and their real names were redacted from the affidavit, although “stage names” were included.
On Friday, Kennebec County District Attorney Maeghan Maloney and Maine State Police Lt. Aaron Hayden said additional charges could be filed resulting from the investigation. Evidence for drug-related charges was found, according to Hayden. Financial charges also could be filed, according to the affidavit.
Horne Sr. on Friday denied any wrongdoing to the Morning Sentinel.
The first complaints about the Hornes were generated in 2012, when they rented a house at 370 Smithfield Road, also Route 8, in North Belgrade.
In March 2012, state police Trooper Breann Petrini responded to a report from the address that Horne Jr. had threatened his father with a handgun and fled the scene. When Petrini contacted Horne Jr., he told her that his father was conducting prostitution at the home, according to the affidavit.
Horne Sr. told Petrini that his son was intoxicated and had a drug problem. It’s not clear from the affidavit whether police followed up on Horne Jr.’s allegation.
Despite the landlord’s mounting suspicions, Petrini didn’t talk to him again until last September, months after the Hornes had been evicted from the home and a year and a half after Horne Jr. had made those allegagations.
Frederick Horne Sr. began renting the house in August 2011, and his landlord told police that initially he wasn’t suspicious about all the comings and goings at the house because of the amount of people who lived there.
But that fall, the landlord, who lived on property nearby, was approached by neighbors who asked him if a “cat house” was being run at the house.
The landlord asked Horne Sr., who reassured him he wasn’t doing anything illegal, according to the affidavit.
In the spring of 2013, neighbors again made the complaint to the landlord.
“The landlord began to pay closer attention to the activity at 370 Smithfield Road,” the affidavit said. The landlord “stated he ‘saw on numerous occasions taxis dropping off scantily dress(ed) women in high heels and men arriving.’”
It said the landlord would see “men tucking in their shirts and combing their hair before going to the door and would leave anywhere between half an hour to an hour later.”
The landlord later told Petrini that he Googled Horne’s cellphone number and “found a website depicting scantily dressed women in photos.”
The landlord said the photos “were obviously taken in the rental property.”
The affidavit said the landlord again confronted Horne, “who didn’t confirm or deny anything.” The landlord issued a 30-day eviction on June 11.
The affidavit said he gave Petrini a list of license plate numbers he’d copied from vehicles that came to the house as well as a list that was left behind in the rental property when the Hornes moved out with “known stage names (psuedonyms the women used) … and unknown male names. Next to the list of names are prices ranging between $120 and $180.”
MOVE TO SIDNEY
After Horne was evicted, the landlord saw a cellphone number he recognized as Horne’s in adult entertainment ads in the Morning Sentinel, the first one in July, according to the affidavit.
After seeing that phone number, the landlord had a female friend call it. She spoke with a man presumed to be Horne about the advertisements and said she was thinking about applying, according to the affidavit, and the man told her the amount she would be making for having sex with clients and how much Horne Sr. gets for every hour and half hour and room fees.
Meanwhile, police were called to Horne Sr.’s new address at 2874 West River Road in Sidney twice in 2013, according to the affidavit, the first because of a domestic dispute in August and then because of an assault in September.
On Sept. 23, the day before the second complaint, the landlord’s daughter made a formal complaint about the prostitution activity at the North Belgrade house through an Internet crime reporting website.
In the complaint, she details the evidence her father collected and says Horne has moved to Sidney.
“My father has tried numerous times to contact the police and the DA, however, the ‘pimp’ has mentioned to a close friend that ‘the police are our clients,’ which explains why this case is going nowhere.”
Petrini responded to a domestic disturbance report at 2874 West River Road in Sidney in August.
The affidavit said the “suspect of the disturbance” was Horne Jr.; and that’s when Petrini, who had learned earlier in the summer that the Hornes had moved from North Belgrade, discovered they were living at 2874 West River Road in Sidney, the affidavit says.
She visited the landlord at his home Sept. 23, the day the online report was made.
On Sept. 24, Trooper Dianne Perkins-Vance investigated an assault involving Horne Sr. at the Sidney residence.
After the landlord’s daughter made the complaint, the investigation switched into high gear.
The affidavit chronicles a number of interviews and Internet searches Petrini did concerning the Hornes and their alleged activities.
In December, state police Detective Abby Chabot called Horne Sr. to seek information about the advertisements and spoke with Horne Sr., according to the affidavit.
About 10 days later, Petrini and Detective Christopher Tupper spoke with two women who had worked at Relaxalon, an erotic massage parlor in Waterville, who knew of Horne’s adult entertainment business, where “the reputation was that the girls would also perform sexual acts for money,” according to the affidavit.
When the two women talked with police, one of them called Horne Sr. and asked about the advertisement, whereupon the man presumed to be Horne asked her to come in for an interview. The women asked if it was “full service” — slang for sex — and the man said he doesn’t talk over the phone but that “it was an escort service and what goes on in the rooms is between the girls and the client and has nothing to do with me,” according to the affidavit.
In February, police received another complaint from a man who said his father had bought sex from two women who work for Horne Sr., according to the affidavit.
Also in February, a defendant on bail conditions for operating after suspension and possession of cocaine offered to provide information about Horne Sr.’s operation, according to the affidavit, and police told her no promises or leniency about her charges would be made if she wanted to provide the information.
The defendant explained in detail how Horne Sr. put explicit advertisements of the women on backpage.com, often under a stage name, according to the affidavit.
The defendant said when johns — customers — called for an appointment, they’d typically pick a women, whom Horne then would contact via text message with an appointment date and time, according to the affidavit.
Horne Sr. set the prices for the women, which were $120 for a half hour and $160 for an hour, with $25 per half hour and $35 per hour going back to Horne Sr., according to the affidavit. The defendant said Horne referred to the charge as a room rental fee.
The main attraction that drew women to work for Horne Sr. was that he and his son handled the advertising, appointments, scheduling and security, according to the defendant in the affidavit.
Women working for Horne Sr. traveled from as far away as Lewiston, according to the affidavit.
In March, state police spoke with fraud investigator Robin Moody, of the Maine Welfare Fraud Division, according to the affidavit. Moody had been investigating Horne Sr. for a few years, and she knew that neither Horne Sr. nor the women who appeared to be working for him had not been forthcoming with information about their income.
The uncovering of the prostitution ring came the same day as another bust in Litchfield, where Augusta resident Gretchen Patrick, 51, was summoned on a charge of sex trafficking.