A Newington deli owner has been arrested, accused of offering a teenage boy candy and money in exchange for a photo of his genitals, as well as having sexual conversations with several other teenage customers.
Albert Mortensen, 68, of Newington, the owner of Main Street Deli in East Berlin, has been charged with risk of injury to a minor and impairing the morals of children.
Police started investigating on May 17, when the mother of a 15-year-old boy went to police and filed a complaint.
The boy, who was a regular customer at the deli, told a sibling that Mortensen had a sexually explicit conversation with him and offered him “any candy in the store and $100” if he showed Mortensen a nude photo, according to the warrant for Mortensen's arrest. The sibling then relayed that information to the parents.
When police spoke with the teen, he gave officers names of other teens who frequent the deli and might have had similar interactions with Mortensen. Over the next week and a half, police interviewed three other teenage boys about interactions with Mortensen, the warrant says.
A 16-year-old boy told investigators about an incident in March in which Mortensen allegedly said a teenage girl in the neighborhood “dressed like a slut” and thought she was “sexy.”
According to the arrest warrant, a 13-year-old boy also told police that he was “weirded” out when Mortensen started asking personal questions, so he left the store.
Mortensen also asked the boy if he wanted to work in the store when he got older. When he said he did, Mortensen said the teen “would have to work naked,” the teen told police.
Another 16-year-old boy told police he had heard some of the conversations the other teens relayed, according to the warrant.
Police questioned Mortensen about the allegations at his Newington home on June 9.
When police asked if he knew why they wanted to speak to him, he said “the mother of the kid,” according to police.
He did admit to having a conversation with a teen about sex when the boy was buying candy, but said he could bit remember who brought up the topic, according to police. He said he asked the boy if he had any “porn videos” on his cell phone, but didn’t remember anything else they said.
Mortensen then told police that he realizes that it was “probably not a good idea to talk about sex” with someone so young.
Mortensen denied having sexual conversations with other teenage boys, but later said he “may have made some comments,” but was not sure of the exact content of the conversations, according to police.
He also denied offering money or candy for photos of the boy’s genitals.
Deli customers said they're surprised by the allegations. Berlin resident Austin Kowaleski said Mortensen often employs young teens, but never thought there might be ulterior motives.
"He always seemed like he was trying to help the younger crowd rather than take advantage," he explained.
Mortensen has been released on $5,000 bond.
No one answered the door at Mortensen's home Wednesday. Information on an attorney for Mortensen was not immediately available.
Photo Credit: NBCConnecticut.com and Berlin Police