"‘They just need to sell sex and give him the money’" by Andy Rosen Globe Staff February 15, 2017
In all, Hendricks Mario Berdet trafficked at least six women for sex, often plying them with drugs and collecting upward of $1,500 a night from each as he controlled virtually all aspects of their lives, prosecutors said Wednesday.
The organization was run out of homes and hotels in Boston, Brookline, Newton, and Waltham, prosecutors said.
Boston police reports filed in court allege that Berdet and his associates preyed on women’s vulnerabilities. One woman told investigators that when she was in drug treatment she met someone who was working for Berdet as a prostitute. That person said Berdet would take care of her and supply her with heroin if [she] worked as a prostitute, the report said. Women would be trained on what to do, the report said..
Berdet, who allegedly advertised the women’s services online, provided the woman with heroin on a daily basis in exchange for her turning over all proceeds earned from her “dates,” the report stated. Berdet controlled when she could eat and buy cigarettes, the report said.
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Berdet took the woman’s identification and brought her to a bank to open a checking account, according to the police report. He then took the debit card, police wrote.
Another woman told authorities that Berdet would give her only $20 or $40 for the night’s work. He never paid her rent or car payment, stating that she wasn’t making enough money with her customers, the report said.
Berdet has a criminal record that includes gun and drug convictions, prosecutors said.
Berdet’s lawyer, Justine Whalen, said in court that Berdet is a dutiful father who looks forward to clearing his name. She said she believes that the associate who worked as a recruiter may have played a more prominent role in the prostitution scheme than he did.
Whalen also questioned the allegations that the scheme was coercive, noting that one woman told police she “became too uncomfortable and never engaged in any specific sex acts.”
Outside the courtroom, Berdet’s cousin, Marcus Smith, said Berdet’s accusers are jealous of his children’s mother and described him as an upstanding man.
“These accusations are wrong,” he said....