Child Prostitution, New: Human Trafficking: Sex Trafficking, Unbelievable, Shame on You

December 12, 2018

Harford Courant


The wife of a man described by police as a self-professed dungeon master who sought sex with an underage girl said she was “absolutely stunned” to learn of her husband’s secret life.  In a phone interview Wednesday, Laurie Hessler described herself as “devastated” when state police detailed the charges against Simon Hessler, her husband since 2003.


“I absolutely, 100 percent had no idea any of this was going on,” the Ellington woman said.  She filed divorce papers on Nov. 27, citing irretrievable breakdown of the marriage.  Simon Hessler appeared Wednesday in Manchester Superior Court, where his case was transferred to Hartford Superior Court, which handles more serious matters. Charged last month with attempting to set up two days of "limitless sex" with a person he thought was a 10- to 12-year-old girl, Hessler was held on bail of $1 million for a court appearance set for Dec, 27.


Hessler, 46, faces 12 felony charges that include attempted trafficking in persons, attempted sexual assault and attempted unlawful restraint. He was arrested on Nov. 13 after a state police detective posing as a pimp and human trafficker engaged him in a deal to deliver a young girl to a trailer parked outside the Baymont by Wyndham hotel in Manchester, which Hessler owns, police have said.  Hessler's name surfaced in October during state police Det. Samantha McCord's ongoing investigation into child prostitution and trafficking, an arrest warrant said. McCord began communicating with Hessler on Oct. 10, mentioning that her online persona and Hessler shared an interest in young girls, police said. Hessler revealed that he had a dungeon for slave training, attaching photos of what McCord described as "an elaborate sado-masochism room with multiple beds with whips and chains and handfuffs on the wall," police said.


Hessler also said he had been training slaves for 20 years and had many customers between New York City and Boston, the warrant said. Police said they later found that Hessler's dungeon was located in the Vernon business he owns, New England Hospitality Management, Inc., 615 Talcotville Road. A search warrant was served there.  Laurie Hessler said she knew nothing of the dungeon or anything else about her husband’s alleged predilection for sadism and underage sex slaves. In addition to running the hotel and the hospitality business, Hessler also was a leader of the volunteer ambulance corps in Ellington.  “He came home every night,” Laurie Hessler said. “There wasn’t a night when he wasn’t home.”  The two were married in July 2003 in Niagara Falls, N.Y. They have one biological child, a daughter born in February 2007.


“He’s not the man that I married,” Laurie Hessler said. “I never would have imagined in a million years that this could happen. He’s not the person that I thought he was.”  Police say Simon Hessler asked that McCord bring a 12-year-old "DCF/foster kid" so he could train her at his "slave quarters" and have sex with her, the warrant says. He said a camper-trailer in the parking lot of the Manchester hotel on Taylor Street could be used for the drop-off and that money would be left there for the person who delivered the girl, the warrant says.


McCord scheduled a drop-off of a "sixth-grade" girl at the trailer. The agreed-upon price for two days of "limitless sex (but no bruises)" - was $500, police said. The girl was to be handcuffed, gagged and blindfolded with equipment Hessler left in the trailer and a photo sent to him once that was done, the warrant said. When he received the picture, Hessler wrote in an email, he would reveal where the money was hidden in the trailer, the warrant said.


McCord enlisted the help of "a very petite narcotics officer from East Hartford." At about 12:50 p.m., she sent Hessler a photo of the handcuffed detective wearing a black hood and lying in a fetal position on the trailer floor, the warrant said. Hessler "immediately texted back that the money was above the kitchen sink,” the warrant says. He was arrested after he drove up in a pickup truck, got out and approached the trailer, police said.  Laurie Hessler turned over flash drives she found in the couple’s bedroom, police said. A state marshal served the divorce papers to Simon Hessler at Garner Correctional Institution in Newtown on Nov. 28.  Laurie Hessler said Wednesday that her husband left her with no money or assets. “All the finances are in his name,” she said. “He left me with absolutely nothing. ... My whole life has been torn apart.”