KANSAS CITY, Mo. -- A man from Lebanon pleaded guilty on Tuesday for having sex with a woman before she was an adult. Prosecutors say Edward Bagley tortured and mutilated the woman and kept her as a sex slave for seven years. They say he also allowed others to view the torture sessions either in person or over the Internet.
Bagley entered his plea on Tuesday in a deal with prosecutors. He agreed to a 20-year prison sentence that still must approved by a federal judge. Prosecutors agreed to drop more serious charges, including sex trafficking.
Bagley, 45, known as “Master Ed” according to court documents, was charged in September 2010 with 11 federal counts, including conspiracy, sex trafficking, forced labor trafficking and using an interstate facility to entice a minor into illegal sexual conduct.
Prosecutors say the woman was 16 in 2002 when she moved into Ed and Marilyn Bagley's mobile home on the outskirts of Lebanon. She lived there until 2009, when she was taken to a hospital in cardiac arrest at age 23 after what prosecutors said was a torture session.
Bagley's attorney, Susan Dill, contended the woman was 18 when she voluntarily started engaging in extreme sexual acts with Bagley as part of the bondage, discipline, sadism and masochism lifestyle. Dill said Bagley did not have sex with her while she was under age 18, the age at which she could legally give consent under federal law.
That argument was refuted in December, however, when Marilyn Bagley pleaded guilty and admitted her husband's sexual relationship with the woman started when she was 16. The Bagleys were scheduled to go on trial in February, and Marilyn Bagley's plea agreement, in which she would get probation if a judge agrees, could have been voided if she didn't testify truthfully against her husband at his trial.
Former U.S. Attorney Beth Phillips called the case one of "the most horrific ever prosecuted in this district." Prosecutors said Marilyn Bagley was a victim of sexual abuse herself before helping her husband keep the other woman as a sex slave and participating in the abuse and torture. Dill said evidence of the sexual acts between the Bagleys should be suppressed because they were acts of consenting married adults committed in the privacy of their own home.
According to the plea agreement on Tuesday, Bagley met the woman when she was 16 and dating his teenage son and knew she had suffered emotional, physical and sexual abuse in her past. Bagley provided her with her own room, clothes and promised her a great life, the agreement says, and taught her about BDSM activities using images and videos from the Internet.
Also as part of the plea deal, Bagley admitted he engaged in bondage acts with the woman that included the use of needles and skewers, whipping and electrocution.
Prosecutors and defense attorneys declined to comment.
Four other men pleaded guilty to conspiracy charges, admitting they engaged in or watched the sexual torture of the woman at the Bagleys' home. None of those four has been sentenced.
One of the men, Bradley Cook of St. Louis, entered a plea bargain that includes a 20-year sentence. Dennis Henry of Wheatland pleaded guilty of transporting the victim across state lines for sexual activity and could face up to 15 years. Michael Stokes of Lebanon and James Noel of Springfield face five years on the conspiracy charge.
Other defendants also had nicknames
Edited news release from Office of U.S. Attorney for Western District of Missouri:
“Today’s guilty plea brings closure to a shocking and horrific case,” said U.S. Attorney Tammy Dickinson said. “Six defendants now have been brought to justice for their roles in the brutal sexual torture and enslavement of a young woman who was just a teenager when the victimization began.
“The Human Trafficking Rescue Project continues to lead the nation by breaking new ground in trafficking cases, prosecuting both the supply and the demand, both the sex traffickers and their customers.”
Edward Bagley, Sr., also known as Master Ed, pleaded guilty before U.S. District Judge Dean Whipple to enticing a minor into illegal sexual conduct. Under the terms of his binding plea agreement, Bagley will face 20 years in federal prison without parole. A judge will also order Bagley to pay restitution to his victim.
“Both the interest of the victim and the cause of justice have been served today,” Dickinson said. “The victim is spared having to endure a difficult trial and she can continue her healing process.”
Bagley met the female victim (identified in court documents as FV) in 2002, when she was 16 years old and dating his teenage son. FV visited his trailer residence in Lebanon on numerous occasions. Bagley knew that FV grew up in foster care, came from a troubled home life and had suffered emotional, physical, and sexual abuse in her past. He also knew that FV suffered from mental deficiencies and had previously sustained a traumatic head injury.
During FV’s visits to Bagley’s residence, he showed her images and videos of pornography on the Internet and downloaded from the Internet, including images and videos of bondage and sadomasochistic conduct. Bagley admitted that he provided FV with controlled substances.
He taught her about bondage and sadomasochistic activities. His wife, co-defendant Marilyn Bagley, 47, modeled stripper and bondage clothing for FV. The Bagleys told FV that she would love being a “slave” for him. Bagley began a sexual relationship with FV prior to her 17th birthday.
FV viewed Edward Bagley as her boyfriend and moved into the Bagleys’ residence in 2003. They provided FV her own room and clothes, and promised her a great life.
Over the course of the next six years, Edward Bagley executed sadomasochistic acts on FV, including whipping and flogging her body, penetrating her skin with needles and skewers, suffocating her with plastic bags, strangling her with rope, putting her in a dog cage, and electrocuting FV with devices that produced electrical voltage. Edward Bagley photographed and videotaped many of the acts he performed on her.
Edward Bagley is the sixth and final defendant to be convicted in this case. A sentencing hearing will be scheduled after the completion of a presentence investigation by the United States Probation Office.
Five defendants have pleaded guilty to their roles in a conspiracy to commit sex trafficking by force, fraud or coercion. This is the first time nationwide that the customers, or johns, have been convicted under the Trafficking Victims Protection Act in a sex trafficking case in which the victim was an adult.
Marilyn Bagley pleaded guilty on Dec. 6, 2012, to her role in the conspiracy. According to Marilyn Bagley’s plea agreement, the victim was subject to sadistic acts of torture that increased in quantity and intensity over a six-year time period. They involved, for example, strangulation, suffocation, penetration with skewers, and electrical voltage. FV would be punished if she did not do as instructed.
Marilyn Bagley admittedly knew other people, including four co-defendants who pleaded guilty in this case, came to the residence to engage in sexual conduct and sadistic acts on FV. They provided bondage pornography, meat, cigarettes, and cash, among other items, in exchange for the sessions involving sexual conduct and sadistic acts on FV.
Under the terms of her binding plea agreement, Marilyn Bagley will receive a sentence of probation. The government stated in court that Marilyn Bagley is considered in a separate category from the other defendants in this case because she was a victim of extensive physical and emotional abuse for more than 25 years prior to her criminal conduct and participation in the conspiracy. Her participation in the criminal conduct resulted in the abuse being redirected away from her and to the victim.
Co-defendant Michael Stokes, also known as The Rodent, 47, pleaded guilty on Jan. 5, 2012, to participating in the conspiracy.
Stokes, who lives in Lebanon, became familiar with FV in 2006 when he received pictures of her over the Internet in which she was naked with whip marks over her body. Stokes was told that the victim was a slave for “life” who was tortured for hours at a time and was required to do “everything and anything” she was told.
After a few weeks of chatting online, the plea agreement says, a co-conspirator brought the victim to Stokes’ house so she could do a “demo” for him. When they arrived at Stokes’ residence, bringing a duffle bag of torture devices with them, FV was instructed to “put on a show for us.” FV was naked, wearing only dog collars and ankle collars with locks. Stokes was asked whether he wanted to have sex with her. Stokes said “yes” and he had sex with FV.
Stokes was stunned that “someone had that much control over someone” and “had never seen anything like it.”
Stokes began visiting the residence where FV was being held. During his first visit, he was shown a photo of FV’s mutilation and told this was done to demonstrate “what was expected of her.” FV was present for these statements and remained silent. FV never talked back or spoke up. FV never offered herself to Stokes and only acted on command.
Stokes visited the residence eight to 12 times. During these visits, he would receive sexual acts or be allowed to watch or participate in torturing FV. When he visited, he brought steaks, hamburgers, jackets, personalized playing cards, lighters, cigarettes, and cash. Among other things, he witnessed FV being tortured with a crank phone, with electricity shot through devices clamped to her skin.
Stokes began assisting in promoting FV at the strip clubs. Stokes took photos of FV around to the clubs to promote her there. Stokes gave $1,000 so that FV could be taken for a sexual bondage photo shoot in California for Taboo magazine. Stokes then took a copy of the magazine to promote her at the clubs. The photos in Taboo magazine were extremely mild and did not depict any of the cruel sessions that Stokes witnessed at the residence.
In 2009, Stokes was warned there was an FBI investigation involving his conduct with FV. Stokes went on his computer and deleted hundreds of photos, his contacts with other females online, pictures of FV that he saved, and destroyed his copies of Taboo magazine and the sexual devices that he had acquired.
Under federal statutes, Stokes is subject to a sentence of up to five years in federal prison without parole, plus a fine up to $250,000 and an order of restitution.
Co-defendant Bradley Cook, also known as PutHer2GoodUse, 34, of Kirkwood, pleaded guilty on Dec. 20, 2011, to participating in the conspiracy.
From 2006 to 2009, Cook watched the victim being sexually abused and tortured in live online sessions and as depicted in photos and videos that he downloaded from the Internet. Cook admitted he traveled to Lebanon on multiple occasions during that time to engage in sessions of sexual acts and torture with the victim. In exchange, Cook paid the victim’s master for these sessions with such items as computer hard drives that contained images and videos of bondage, domination, sadism and masochism, which he had downloaded from the Internet.
Cook also admitted he was aware of other men who engaged in sexual acts and torture with the victim. He witnessed the victim being whipped and locked in a dog cage, as well as being tied up and shocked with multiple electrical devices. Cook described the abuse suffered by the victim as the “most extreme” that he had ever seen.
Under the terms of a binding plea agreement, Cook is subject to a sentence of 20 years in federal prison without parole. Cook must also pay restitution to the victim. In addition to the sentence of imprisonment, the court may impose a term of supervised release up to life. Cook must also forfeit to the government the computer media that he used to commit the offense.
Co-defendant Dennis Henry, 53, of Wheatland, formerly the postmaster of Nevada, Mo., pleaded guilty on March 24, 2011, to participating in the conspiracy. Henry also pleaded guilty to transporting the victim across state lines for sexual activity.
Henry admitted he engaged in sex with the victim, and participated in torture sessions with FV that would last for hours. Henry saw pictures of FV’s mutilation, which he was told was a form of punishment. Henry also admitted he visited FV at a strip club in Lebanon where she was forced to work.
Under federal statutes, Henry is subject to a sentence of up to 15 years in federal prison without parole, plus a fine up to $500,000 and an order of restitution.
Co-defendant James Noel, 47, of Springfield, pleaded guilty on Feb. 24, 2011, to participating in the conspiracy. Noel admitted he was one of the customers who sexually abused and tortured FV. Noel watched the victim being tortured and sometimes operated torture devices himself beginning in 2006, when she was approximately 20 years old. For example, Noel knew that FV hated being electrocuted with a crank phone, which he described as “extremely painful,” but he used it on her anyway.
Under federal statutes, Noel is subject to a sentence of up to five years in federal prison without parole, plus a fine up to $250,000 and an order of restitution.
This case is being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorneys Cynthia L. Cordes, Paul Becker and John Cowles with assistance from the Department of Justice Civil Rights Division's Human Trafficking Prosecution Unit. It was investigated by the FBI in conjunction with the Human Trafficking Rescue Project.