AUBURN — A Lewiston man who police said offered his services as pimp to an undercover officer was charged with a felony this week.

A grand jury on Monday indicted Martin Gerding, 36, of 153 Horton St. with aggravated sex trafficking, a Class B crime punishable by up to 10 years in prison.

Gerding had appeared in court in October after his arrest, but hadn’t entered a plea because all felony charges must be handed up by a grand jury.

He remained in jail Tuesday in lieu of $15,000 cash or $30,000 worth of real estate.

Police said Gerding had boasted to an undercover cop posing as a prostitute at Horton and Ash streets one night in September that he provides protection for some of the prostitutes in the area. He said he had two “girls” working the streets. He said he wasn’t afraid to get physical with some or “put a gun in someone,” according to a police affidavit.

Gerding had provided tips to the undercover officer on how to work the “Johns” and how to avoid going to jail, police said in the affidavit. His conversation with the officer posing as a prostitute was recorded on the officer’s cellphone. Police had been conducting a sting operation targeting customers who engaged prostitutes in an effort to crack down on human and sex trafficking.

Police said a local woman who admitted to working as a prostitute told an officer last year that she made money on the street for herself and Gerding, her fiance. They used the money to support their drug habits, she had said.

Four days after Gerding had approached the undercover officer, the woman who claimed to be his fiancee was brought to the police station where she spoke with an advocate for victims of domestic and sexual abuse. She told police that she met Gerding on the streets after getting involved in drugs and losing custody of her children. He “convinced her to start prostituting to pay for their drug habit” after she moved in with him, according to the affidavit.

Gerding “set up the rules she had to follow, including the lowest price she was to accept for certain acts,” according to the affidavit. He would “get mad at her if she came back with anything less than $20,” she told police. He also set time limits on the length of the “dates.”

Gerding would take the proceeds from the transactions and buy drugs they would both use, she said, according to the affidavit. Gerding would get mad and make her go out on “dates” even if she didn’t want to, she said.

He also was charged with several violations of conditions of release for allegedly having contact after his arrest with the woman who said she was engaged to marry him. Among his bail conditions had been to have no contact with her.

Gerding is expected this week to appear in court again to enter a plea to the charge.

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Martin Gerding, 36, of Lewiston appears in 8th District Court in Lewiston in October after his arrest on suspicion of sex trafficking. (Sun Journal file photo)

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