Nov 13, 2014 4:23 PM

Utah trucker accused of keeping more sex slaves

The Associated Press

SALT LAKE CITY (AP) A Utah truck driver accused of keeping two women as sex slaves in his semitrailer as he traveled the country had four more victims, federal prosecutors said in court documents.

Some of the new accusations against defendant Timothy Jay Vafeades date back 20 years.

In two of the new incidents detailed in the documents filed Monday, prosecutors say Vafeades, now 54, lured the women to his truck, then forcibly altered their appearances and ground down their teeth while holding them prisoner for months.

Vafeades met one of the women when he was a hospice patient and married her. He began assaulting her after she agreed to go to Utah with him and continued until she escaped about six months later, the documents state.

Vafeades is accused of meeting another woman while she worked at a retail store and inviting her to join him in his truck for more than a week in 2005, then keeping her on board for about three months before she got away.

In the other two new cases, Vafeades assaulted women he met at a college and online, authorities said.

No charges have been filed involving the newly disclosed incidents because the statute of limitations has expired, but prosecutors want to introduce the details as evidence in the case filed in March, said Melodie Rydalch, a spokeswoman for the U.S. Attorney's Office in Utah.

In that case, prosecutors said the trucker kidnapped and repeatedly sexually assaulted two women who were 18 and 19.

Vafeades has pleaded not guilty to multiple counts of kidnapping, transporting for illegal sexual activity and possession of child pornography. His attorney Vanessa Ramos declined to comment Thursday.

Prosecutors say the circumstances were similar to the recently disclosed incidents and show preparation, planning and intent.

Ramos has filed a motion to suppress evidence gathered by police during a search of Vafeades's truck after he was arrested in Minnesota.

He was taken into custody after police noticed the 19-year-old woman with bruises on her face at a weigh station. Ramos argued in court documents that the stop and the search were illegal.

A hearing scheduled for Dec. 17 on her motion.


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