Maine man charged with human trafficking after advertising woman on website

By James A. Kimble Union Leader Correspondent

human trafficking
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DOVER — A Maine man who brought a woman to a Dover motel and advertised her on struck a plea deal with prosecutors. Leo Grondin, 48, pleaded guilty on Wednesday to transporting an individual in interstate commerce with the intent she engage in prostitution.

Grondin faces up to 10 years in state prison when he appears for sentencing in U.S. District Court in Portland, Maine, on Jan. 28.

The Department of Homeland Security began investigating on June 25 after spotting several advertisements on that advertised sex-related services. The phone number listed on the advertisements had a New Hampshire area code.

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Investigators found an advertisement July 17 on, claiming that the 46-year-old woman was “new in town” and “looking to play,” according to prosecutors.

The phone number included in the advertisement was associated with Grondin’s Facebook account and his Angie’s List account, prosecutors said.

The phone number was also linked to “several other escort advertisements on other websites,” said Ronald Phillips, an HSI task force officer in a sworn affidavit.

Prior to finding the advertisement, police were tipped about a woman possibly being prostituted in the area.

A woman reported to Biddeford, Maine, police on July 9 that she discovered emails related to prostitution on her mother’s cell phone while installing an app. She confronted her mother about the emails, according to the affidavit.

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“The (mother) admitted to her that Leo Grondin was prostituting her and other women and that Grondin was mean to her if she did not engage in prostitution,” Phillips wrote. The alleged prostitution ring spanned into New Hampshire and Massachusetts, the woman told investigators.

Grondin and the woman were caught by federal investigators at a Dover motel on July 17 shortly after the advertisement for her was posted on

The posting also listed Grondin’s phone number, the affidavit said. Grondin was taken into custody. The woman told investigators that Grondin would become violent if she did not engage in prostitution.

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