A Massachusetts community college professor is being held on bail after being charged with numerous counts of human trafficking and two counts of rape, state police said.
John Clayton IV, 63, of Northboro, appeared in Worcester Superior Court on Tuesday after turning himself into state police Tuesday, Massachusetts State Police said in a statement.
Clayton was secretly indicted last week by a Worcester County Grand Jury and a warrant was issued for his arrest, according to the Worcester County District Attorney's office.
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State and local authorities began a human trafficking investigation into Clayton in May 2018, according to police.
Clayton was charged with seven counts of trafficking a person for sexual servitude, two counts of rape, and two counts of intimidation of a witness, police said.
"Investigators identified multiple women whom, as alleged by the evidence, were targeted, manipulated, and exploited by Clayton. Generally, the victims allegedly preyed upon by the defendant were drug-addicted, engaged in prostitution, isolated from support, and having very little financial means," police said.
Clayton, who sometimes used the alias Joseph Hallenbeck, reached out to vulnerable women on social media, offering them help for their addictions, a prosecutor said in court.
Instead, he would force them to have sex with him and would give them money and drugs in return, the prosecution said.
Police recovered video evidence of one woman being raped while restrained, authorities said.
Clayton's attorney, Bradley Bailey, said his client maintains he was helping the women and said there may be a "consent defense."
"He intends to fight the charges," Bailey said.
Clayton, a former teacher for Worcester Public Schools and a current adjunct professor at Quinsigamond Community College, is being held on $15,000 bail. He was ordered to home confinement, to wear a GPS monitoring device and to surrender his passport pilot's license.
Clayton is due back in court Feb. 27 for a pre-trial conference.