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Courts and Crime

Prosecutors Drop Sex Trafficking Charge After Alleged Victim Found Dead

A woman who was scheduled to testify against the defendant in a sex trafficking trial has been found dead.

The woman had been romantically involved with Martin Gerding, who allegedly coerced her to work as a prostitute and physically assaulted her.

With the woman’s death, the sex trafficking charge will be dismissed, but Androscoggin Assistant District Attorney Nathan Walsh says Gerding will still be charged on four felony charges of violating bail.

“There are certain things that make it a felony, and one of those is having contact with a victim of the underlying case in a felony matter. So that’s what this is for, he had initiated contact with her on four different occasions while he was on bail,” he says. “Mr. Gerding had been indicted on a single count of aggravated sex trafficking of that person, so it required us to dismiss that indictment. However he does have other pending matters that the state is still moving forward on.”

State police informed the district attorney’s office on Monday that the woman had died. She was scheduled to testify on Tuesday. Police are investigating and working with the state medical examiner to determine a cause of death.