Conviction Overturned For New London -Waterford Speedbowl Owner Bruce Bemer

Bruce Bemer (Photo: Shawn Courchesne/RaceDayCT)

On Wednesday the Connecticut Supreme Court overturned the April 2019 conviction of New London-Waterford Speedbowl owner Bruce Bemer.

The court ruled 7-0 that prosecutors in the case against Bemer did not prove he knew that men he paid for sex acts were victims of human trafficking.

The 67-year old Bemer was convicted in April 2019 of four counts of patronizing a trafficked individual and also of an accessory to a sex trafficking operation.

He was later sentenced to 10 years in prison. He has been out on an appeal bond since his conviction.

According to the Hartford Courant: “The Supreme Court, in a unanimous decision written by Justice Raheem L. Mullins, disagreed with both the prosecution and the jury.”

The decision read: “In other words, the defendant asserts that the state did not produce sufficient evidence to demonstrate that he knew or reasonably should have known that the men were engaged in prostitution because they had been compelled or induced to do so by means of fraud or coercion. We agree.”

Danbury State’s Attorney Stephen J. Sedensky III, who prosecuted the case, said in a statement Wednesday evening reported by the Hartford Courant: “We’re disappointed in the decision and that the Connecticut Supreme Court did not see the evidence as the jury did.”

Bemer was the high bidder in a foreclosure auction of the Speedbowl in October 2014. He was arrested in March 2017.


  1. Viva Race Fan says

    Huh Can’t wait to hear what everyone has to say.
    Hope this helps everyone move forward.

  2. This thread should go from 0-100 in record time!

  3. Will they finally be selling beer in the Waterford stands on Saturday?

  4. So is it over or do they retry him? If he was found innocent you can not be retried by the prosecution but in this case he was found guilty and its overturned. I know if there is a hung jury with no verdict they can retry. In this case there was a verdict. I honestly dont know what the procedure is here. Even with the conviction overturned the damage to his reputation and its affect on the Speedbowl is already done. Pretty sure this has no determination on all the civil suits either.

  5. Nope its all done guys. Double Jeopardy to try him again. He walks. Court directed a final judgment of not guilty.

  6. sour grapes of justice for none says

    LOL calling out DAREAL .I called it yup .
    2019…ME … Bemer wont do any significant jail time. the state has culpability / exposure for allowing an employee or subcontractor to remove the victims from the places they were institutionalized. of course no one has mentioned the state of Ct .. yet.. now with the addition of some power players on Bemers legal team expect the original deal to re surface . no jail time, suspended with sex offender status. hey that’s justice.. plenty of blame to go around ….all those years those creeps supplied “boys” to Bemer .. you think he was the only “john” (end user) ????..lets get real .. these young men were “pimped” to plenty of other powerful people who were insulated from prosecution on this one … the openly gay man with the deepest pocket loses. or perhaps not

  7. masks optional says

    I’m just here for the comments, and to watch haters heads explode…

  8. Wow!
    Sooo… Shawn, any comment from Nascar? Do they still want nothing to do with the bowl? Thanks for the reporting!!!

  9. Bob g.,
    I think it’s too early to know on that front.

  10. Corrupt legal system in southern CT against a very good legal firm . What did you expect ? Finish the stand’s , concession’s and track surface . ( Let’s Go Racing Boy’s )

  11. Viva Race Fan says

    Happy days .

  12. The fact that the verdict was overturned unanimously should say something about our justice system here in CT. Go after anyone with something to lose and use emotion to get a conviction. I’m glad these appeal judges saw the light.

  13. Beamer is a special kind of low life. With that said CT says patronizing a prostitute is a misdemeanor… So prosecutors are pushed by “so called” trafficking groups to apply the these new sex trafficking laws to any case they can. In this case they needed to prove Beamer absolutely knew that the prostitutes he was paying for were the result of trafficking.
    The appeals court easily came to the conclusion that the state did not prove this.
    End of case!


    That’s the judgment right there and is surprising easy to read. What I got out of it mostly was a lesson of what the word “infer” means in legal terms. In the end it was pretty simple. The state presented it’s case and the jury ended up “inferring” it was reasonable to assume Bemer knew the victims were trafficked individuals. The Supreme Court did not find that element was proven, explained it all very nicely.

    “We agree that the fact that the defendant knew King for twenty to twenty-five years and frequently had him arrange for men to engage in sexual conduct raises the suspicion that the defendant may have known about King’s recruitment tactics. But the correlation between the length of time that the defendant paid for these men and any knowledge on the defendant’s part of King’s method for inducing the men to engage in prostitution is weak. Being a longtime patron of prostitutes provided by a pimp does not impute knowledge of the pimp’s recruitment or retention methods. Thus, because the connection is slight, the inference that the defendant knew or should have known that these individuals were trafficked is not a reasonable one. ‘‘When we infer, we derive a conclusion from proven facts because such considerations as experience, or history, or science have demonstrated that there is a likely correlation between those facts and the conclusion. If that correlation is sufficiently compelling, the inference is reasonable. But if the correlation between the facts and the conclusion is slight . . . the inference is less reasonable.’’ (Internal quotation marks omitted.) State v. Rhodes, 335 Conn. 226, 238, 249 A.3d 683 (2020).”

    The Supreme Court is not saying Bemer didn’t know the individuals were trafficked they are saying the state did not sufficiently prove he knew.
    The precise ruling was as follows.

    “Because the prohibition against double jeopardy bars retrial of that offense, we remand the case with direction to render judgment of not guilty as to that charge. “

    I don’t know what that means. I know a “complete” reversal prohibits retrial based on double jeopardy. Referral gives the lower court the option to retry the case. Is “direction” an order or advising them? In any event retrying the case is off the table since new evidence would need to be found and the expense prohibitive.
    So here we are with the criminal part or this sordid tale at an end but there is still the civil cases that will continue to grind on and the court of public opinion.
    Now we’re back to the word “infer” again. The criminal case jury had no right to “infer” Bemer’s knowledge of trafficking but the civil juries do have that right.
    Come on man Bemer knew, was friends with and even employed this miscreant King for at least a couple decades and clearly knew what he was doing. Bemer got off on a technicality but civil juries are not likely to be sympathetic to it at all.

    So in the end here’s what you have Speedbowl nation in terms of a track owner. A really rich guy that inherited the flagship business from his parents, managed it well then branched out to other businesses. A gay man that for whatever reason was never capable of establishing a long, committed, loving relationship with another man and living an admirable life. Two people really. One the successful businessman, the other one living in the shadows. Consorting with a thoroughly reprehensible pimp in King who would become a convicted felon. In fact supporting him over a long period of time to keep a steady stream of young men flowing in an attempt to satiate an unquenchable thirst for fresh young meat.
    Seems to me the Supreme Court laid out a very intuitive case for overturning the verdict that any layman could understand. What is particularly disappointing is reading members of Speedbowl nation celebrating like the fundamental deviant behavior somehow now goes away. Cherry picking the state and pointing to them as corrupt in some fashion not realizing the Supreme Court that gave them what they hoped for is also the state.
    I doubt anything will change with NASCAR and hopefully they will continue to stay as far away from the Speedbowl as long as Bemer is the owner. We’ll see if those blacked out billboards start to fill in again but somehow I doubt that will change overnight either.
    Hopefully Connecticut does not weigh good moral character and things like consorting with prostitutes in determining if the Speedbowl now qualifies for a liquor license. I’m rooting for you on that score for sure. People of substance that understand the owner of the track is still a seedy, morally bankrupt individual will need something to help them forget while they are watching the races.

  15. This challenge, that of proving trafficking, was well known at the outset. If I recall correctly, this was the first time this new law regarding trafficking was tried. Remember, Beamer admitted to being a John for decades and decades. The issue here was the Govt was going after him for the trafficking angle. The John aspect was a Mulligan since Beamer admitted to it at the outset.

    The thing is, what Beamer already admitted to makes him a very special low life, not the kind of guy you should let baby sit your children, especially boys. For that, I doubt NASCAR will go forward with a NASCAR sanction at the track. But then, NASCAR is pretty desperate. The way this reads, Beamer was cleared of the trafficking charges, but the rest of his stink will stick to him forever BECAUSE HE ADMITTED TO IT. Remember, NASCAR fans are God-fearing Christians, they pray before races, and they do not like homosexuals or homosexuality. They are not supposed to tolerate pedophilia, but they are indeed hypocrites. Regardless of this secular legal exercise, the good God-fearing Christians are supposed to shun cretins like Beamer… stone them, and other crazy stuff like that, like they say in the Bible.

    This was a mistake by the prosecution… going after the big charges that are a stretch and challenge, instead of going for the slam dunk on charges that are supported with evidence. The prosecution had to prove that Beamer KNEW that the sex workers were trafficked.

    But one has to wonder… aren’t all prostitutes being trafficked in some way? Must be a fine line.

    This was made even more difficult in that the victims did not want to testify. If they testified about their being trafficked, this could have turned out much differently.

  16. Why isn’t anyone talking about the State of CT? Aren’t they somewhat responsible? Weren’t the victims under the watchful eye of the State? How can this happen without someone being aware of it? What does this say about the system in place to protect to the victims and the individuals in charge? Are we missing something here?

    Sounds to me like there could be a hornets nest that is about to open up that could send officials scurrying for cover.

    This is still one big convoluted mess that needs to be further sorted out.


  17. Earl, you galactic idiot, people are speeding all the time. Why isn’t anyone talking about that? Isn’t the State responsible? Aren’t the people using the highways under the watchful eye of the State? How can this happen without someone being aware of it? What does this say about the system in place to protect the highway travelers and the individuals in charge? Are we missing something here?

    Do you really want a totalitarian Big Brother government? Sure reads like it.

    You’re an idiot.

  18. thanks for the information. Honestly not sure if this is what is best for the Bowl or not. I think for the Bowl to be really successful, they need a new owner and this lessons the chances of that happening. I guess with the legal issues behind him, Bemer may be more inclined to invest in the property which is a good. Who knows which would have been best for the Bowl .

  19. I think Bemer will sell all his businesses including the track and move somewhere way away from CT. I think he will sell the track to someone like Amazon or a corporation that will build and destroy the track. Let’s look at reality Bemer is getting old people constantly trash him on social media so why should he do anything for the track or his other businesses. He is now a free man and after the last 5 years he should just throw in the towel get out of this state and start somewhere new. It’s my opinion but I think that it may happen. Dont be surprised if there is no track to race at next year it is a possibility.

  20. Having conversations with track officials, at the races, it sounds as though track management, and ownership are not interested in getting a Nascar sanction back, at least not for weekly racing.. there is interest in bringing the Whelen tour in for a race, but not for weekly sanctioning. Sounds alot like Stafford…

  21. The verdict was overturned because the prosecutor failed to connect Bemer to the trafficking scheme. Bemer may or may not have known, I say he did, but the prosecutor couldn’t prove it. Now it’s over. Personally I think the guy is a creep, and I’ll never go to a race at his race track, but that’s just me.

  22. I don’t know if he is considered a sex offender, and has to register as one. If he is, he’ll never get an alcohol license. Best thing for the bowl would be for him to sell it, or get a co owner with a 51% share.

  23. Rob p., actually Bemer can obtain a permittee. The permittee is a person who is vested with the responsibility for overseeing the sale and distribution of beverage alcohol on a permitted premise. The permittee need not be the owner of the business, as the “backer” is the “proprietor” of the business that holds the license.

    That’s another option he can pursue if he desires and can find an individual that would assume the responsibility.

    Obviously the best thing that can happen is if he just sells to another untested individual, everything goes away and the track starts fresh.

  24. “That’s another option he can pursue if he desires and can find an individual that would assume the responsibility.”

    In the nightclub biz, this person is informally referred to as “The Chump”. Seriously!

  25. 🌈🦄2020 says

    Waterford needs nascar as much as Thompson and Stafford need nascar. Which is that they apparently don’t. The car counts have been good this year. Some nights very good. Bring in a tour race and that’s it.

  26. This is the major problem with the Thought 💭 Police 👮‍♀️ . Vewy, vewy hard to objectively and absolutely ascertain what people were thinking. 💭

    Well, looking forward to the 2022 NWMT schedule.

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