John B. Clayton in court Tuesday. (WBZ-TV)
WORCESTER, Mass. (WBZ NewsRadio) — A former Worcester teacher was arraigned on human trafficking charges in Worcester Superior Court Tuesday, following a two-year investigation into allegations he manipulated and exploited vulnerable women.
John B. Clayton IV, of Northborough, is charged with seven counts of trafficking a person for sexual servitude, two counts of rape, and two counts of witness intimidation for offenses the Worcester District Attorney's Office said happened between 2015 and 2019.
He was ordered held on $15,000 bail, and was ordered to surrender his pilot's license, guns, and passport.
Prosecutors allege Clayton, formerly a Quinsigamond Community College engineering professor, Worcester Public Schools teacher, and foster parent, targeted drug-addicted women with nowhere else to go.
"He pretends to be seeking to assist them with their drug-addiction issues, requires them to sign paperwork, power of attorney, things of that nature, to try to facilitate that 'help' if you will," Worcester Assistant District Attorney Courtney Sands said in court. "At each turn, instead of helping them, he is in fact requiring them to perform sexual acts with him."
Massachusetts State Police began their investigation in May 2018 following a tip from an inmate, and allegedly found video evidence of Clayton sexually assaulting women who needed money and drugs. The State Police High Risk Victims Unit, as well as Northborough and Worcester Police, conducted the investigation.
Clayton, who was out of state when the indictments were handed up, came back to Massachusetts and turned himself in to State Police in Milbury Tuesday morning.
State Police said in a release that the victims generally "were drug-addicted, engaged in prostitution, isolated from support, and having very little financial means."
"He claimed that he was helping these women," Sands said. "I would say to the court that the videos of their interactions would say quite the contrary."
Sands said at least one of the women said she didn't report what Clayton was allegedly doing to her because she "thought that no one would care, given her status as a drug addict, given her status as an individual who, at times, would have sex for money."
Clayton's attorney, Brad Bailey, told the court Clayton just wanted to help people.
Quinsigamond Community College released the following statement on Clayton:
“Earlier today John Clayton IV of Northborough was charged in Worcester Superior Court with a number of serious criminal charges. Mr. Clayton was employed periodically as an adjunct instructor at Quinsigamond Community College since 2015, but is no longer employed by QCC in any capacity. As there is an active criminal investigation underway, all inquiries concerning this matter should be directed to the District Attorney’s Office.”
WBZ NewsRadio's Karyn Regal (@Karynregal) reports