It started in October, when Connecticut police say they noticed a person with the email “firstname.lastname@example.org” was looking to do a “casting couch interview” with a young Mexican girl.
Now, police have arrested 46-year-old Simon Hessler, whom they accused of trying to purchase an underage foster child so he could have “limitless sex” with her in his “sex dungeon” that he had set up in a trailer near the hotel he owns, according to Fox61.
Det. Samantha McCord was investigating child sex trafficking when she went undercover to reach out to Hessler, who provided photos of “an elaborate sado-masochism room with multiple beds with whips and chains and handcuffs on the wall” that he hoped to use with an underage girl, police say, according to The Hartford Courant.
For two decades, Hessler had been doing the “training of slaves” in his trailer with the aid of clients from New York and Boston, he allegedly told McCord, according to NBC Connecticut.
The suspect said he hoped to “train” a preteen child that is in a foster home or with the Connecticut Department of Children and Families, police say, according to The Hartford Courant. McCord sent Hessler a picture of a girl under the age of 16, police say, but he complained she was too old and instead threatened to purchase a trio of sisters aged 6 to 12 from another person if the deal fell through.
Eventually, the two agreed to drop a “sixth-grade” girl off at the trailer Tuesday in the parking lot near Baymont Inn and Suites, the hotel that Hessler owns, NBC Connecticut reported. Hessler promised to pay the undercover officer once the girl was left in the trailer.
Another undercover officer, who is female, put on a dark hood and handcuffs while inside the trailer on Tuesday — and authorities sent a picture of that to Hessler as he requested, police told Fox61. Hessler, in turn, revealed the location of nearly $500 in his house, police say.
He was arrested shortly after as he drove up to the trailer in his pickup truck, police say, according to The Hartford Courant. He learned the young girl was actually “a very petite narcotics officer from East Hartford” — and that he was facing a litany of sex abuse charges.
Those charges include: attempted promotion of child pornography, second-degree attempted assault and attempted felony to patronize prostitute, Fox61 reported. He faces a $1 million bail.
Hessler’s wife asked police if her husband had “done something with underage girls” when officers first called her, police say, but Hessler denied that he wanted to have sex with the girl, according to The Hartford Courant.