KANSAS CITY, Mo. (AP) -- A federal judge denied bond Tuesday for one of five men accused of abusing a young Missouri woman who authorities said was tortured and mutilated as a sex slave for several years.
U.S. Magistrate Judge Robert Larsen refused to grant bond to Bradley Cook, 31, of Kirkwood, during a hearing in Kansas City. Cook is charged with several felonies, including conspiracy and sex trafficking. If convicted on the trafficking charge, he could face life in prison.
Four other men are facing similar charges, including Edward Bagley, 43, described by investigators as the victim's "master" who went by the name Master Ed. A federal indictment alleges that Bagley brought the victim, a runaway with below-average intelligence, into his home when she was 16. Prosecutors said he began having sex with the girl while she was a minor and groomed her to become a sex slave.
Federal authorities said their investigation began in February 2009, after the woman was taken to the hospital in cardiac arrest, which prosecutors said happened while she was being suffocated and electrocuted during a torture session.
Cook's attorney, Carter Law, said during the hearing that many people might consider the bondage, domination, sadism and masochism lifestyle -- known as BDSM -- as violent and hurtful, but Law said some people engage in BDSM voluntarily.
Cook is accused of having sex with the victim at Bagley's home in Lebanon, Mo., and using a device that electrocuted her. The device included a phone rigged with wires that were attached to parts of the woman's body and activated by using a crank.
Sam Benson, an FBI agent, testified during Tuesday's hearing and said Cook was a frequent visitor to Bagley's home to torture the woman with the device. The victim didn't enjoy the torture and experienced a feeling of dread -- much like a person feels when a best friend dies -- whenever Bagley told her Cook was coming to the home, Benson said.
"He was the most excessive individual to use that crank phone," Benson said.
He said Cook was belligerent when FBI agents came to his home, that he forced his live-in girlfriend of several years to take part in BDSM activities that she didn't like, and that he had been arrested several times for unpaid traffic tickets.
Law, Cook's defense attorney, portrayed Cook as a responsible member of the St. Louis community who had a real estate business and a company that restores old cars. Law said Cook had no criminal record, other than unpaid tickets, and was not a risk to flee.
The judge ordered him detained.
Bagley's attorney, Susan Dill, attended the hearing and said afterward that there is much more to the case than what prosecutors allege and the BDSM lifestyle is more common than most people realize. She said Cook's attorney is on the same defensive track as she intends to pursue, specifically that the victim was part of the BDSM lifestyle by choice.
On Monday, the judge rejected a bond request for Dennis Henry, 50, of Wheatland, who faces similar charges. His attorney, Christine Blegen, said she plans to appeal.
Bond hearings have not been held for Bagley or the other two men charged in the case: Michael Stokes, 62, of Lebanon, and James Noel, 44, of Springfield.
The judge indicated that the charges against all five men presume no bail. All are in custody.
(Copyright 2010 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)