Former Massachusetts teacher faces human trafficking charges

Former Massachusetts teacher faces human trafficking charges

WORCESTER, Mass. — A former Massachusetts school teacher charged with forcing into prostitution several women with substance abuse issues he had offered to help pleaded not guilty and was held on $15,000 bail at his arraignment Tuesday.

John Clayton IV, 63, of Northborough, is charged with trafficking a person for sexual servitude, rape, and witness intimidation.

Clayton, who sometimes used the alias Joseph Hallenbeck, reached out to vulnerable women on social media, offering them help for their addictions, a prosecutor said in court.

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Instead, he would force them to have sex with him and would give them money and drugs in return, the prosecution said.

Police recovered video evidence of one woman being raped while restrained, authorities said.

Area students and residents were left speechless.

“It’s mind boggling. It’s someone that you trust around your children. It’s someone you won’t expect necessarily,” said student Lena Mwangi.

“That’s unbelievable. It’s just crazy to hear nowadays, especially sex trafficking, a professor of all things,” said William Muise of Worcester.

Clayton's attorney, Bradley Bailey, said his client maintains he was helping the women and said there may be a “consent defense.”

“He intends to fight the charges,” Bailey said.

Clayton taught in Worcester Public Schools for 10 years and for the past four years has been an adjunct faculty member at Quinsigamond Community College, Bailey said.

Quinsigamond Community College released the following statement on Tuesday:

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.”

“A professor of all things. People put trust in professors,” said Muise.

“I’m scared, I have a sister, I have cousins. I have a bunch of girls around me, it’s hard to be safe out here,” Mwangi said.

In addition to the bail, Clayton was confined to his home with GPS monitoring and ordered to surrender his passport and pilot’s license.