A 20-year-old man who is accused of picking up homeless and troubled girls from the streets to force them into prostitution in Portland was arrested this week and ordered held on $20,000 cash bail.

Alexander Mitchell, whose last known address was in Portland, was indicted last month by a Cumberland County grand jury on six charges, including three felony counts of aggravated sex trafficking.

Westbrook police arrested Mitchell on Wednesday after a warrant was issued for his arrest. He was held in jail in Portland until he could be arraigned at the Cumberland County Courthouse on Friday.

Mitchell, who is listed as transient in court records, pleaded not guilty to all six charges during the brief hearing before Justice Thomas Warren.

In addition to the three felony counts in which he is charged with prostituting a 16-year-old girl and a 17-year-old girl, Mitchell is charged with a misdemeanor sex trafficking count, for allegedly pimping a 21-year-old woman, a felony count of tampering with one of the juvenile victims, and a misdemeanor count of terrorizing the same juvenile.

If convicted, Mitchell will face as much as 10 years in prison on each of the felony counts and as much as a year in prison on the misdemeanor counts.

Joel Vincent, the attorney who acted on Mitchell’s behalf for Friday’s hearing, waived bail arguments until another attorney could be appointed.

The judge set Mitchell’s bail at the amount recommended by a prosecutor, Assistant District Attorney Hannah May. He also imposed bail conditions ordering Mitchell to stay away from the victims, have no contact with any girls younger than 18, and stay away from Portland’s nonprofit resource centers for the needy – Preble Street and Preble Street’s Teen Center.

Mitchell, dressed in an orange jail uniform, spoke only briefly at the hearing, to ask that the court appoint an attorney for him because he doesn’t have enough money to hire his own.

Mitchell has no adult criminal record, but he said he does have a juvenile record.

“The only attorney I’ve ever had was in the court-appointed system, that was Ned Chester,” Mitchell said, naming a Portland lawyer whose practice focuses on juvenile law.

No details of the allegations against Mitchell were available in court records, other than that he is accused of committing the crimes in November and Portland police investigated. The prosecutor did not say anything more than the bail request she made in court.

Preble Street staff members referred comment to Donna Yellen, the nonprofit’s chief program officer. Yellen did not return a message seeking comment.

At least one of Mitchell’s alleged victims has appeared on missing posters recently. The Portland Press Herald does not name victims of sex crimes.

Scott Dolan can be contacted at 791-6304 or at:

[email protected]

Twitter: @scottddolan


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