St. Louis man involved in sex slave case, one suspect pleads guilty -

St. Louis man involved in sex slave case, one suspect pleads guilty



KANSAS CITY, Mo. (AP) -- A southwest Missouri man admitted Thursday that he paid money to torture a young woman who was being held as a sex slave in a rural trailer, saying he shocked her repeatedly despite her complaints.


James Noel, 45, pleaded guilty in U.S. District Court in Kansas City to one count of conspiracy to commit sex trafficking by force, fraud or coercion. Four other men are facing federal charges in the case. The woman, now 25, who claims she was tortured over several years at the Lebanon, Mo., home of Edward Bagley Sr.
Bagley, 43, faces 11 federal charges including conspiracy, sex trafficking by force, fraud or coercion, and forced labor trafficking.
The other defendants are Bradley Cook, 32, of St. Louis; Dennis Henry, 51, of Wheatland; and Michael Stokes, 62, of Lebanon, Mo. All have pleaded not guilty.
In his plea agreement, Noel said Stokes introduced him to Bagley at a strip club in 2006 after Stokes told Noel that Bagley had obtained a slave who would do whatever Bagley told her to do -- including participate in sex acts with other people.
Clad in an orange jail jumpsuit and shackled at the wrists and ankles, Noel admitted that he shocked the woman using an electrical device and a crank phone. He said the device had been rigged to administer a shock to whenever the handle was turned. He said the victim had said she hated the crank phone because it was very painful, but that he used it on her anyway.
Prosecutors allege Bagley abused the woman for years and advertised online and in-person torture sessions. In Noel's plea deal, he said Bagley told him the woman made him about $1,800 per week dancing, so he needed to slow down on the torture sessions at his trailer so she wouldn't be marked up.
As part of the plea, Noel agreed to cooperate with the government and testify in court.
Bagley's attorney, Susan Dill, said she hadn't expected Noel to plead guilty, but she didn't think it would hurt Bagley's defense.
"I'm surprised, but I think the impact on my client's case is minimal," she said.
The maximum penalty on the sex trafficking charge is five years in prison without parole and a $250,000 fine. U.S. District Judge Dean Whipple said he would schedule sentencing after a presentence report is completed.
Noel's attorney, Laine Cardarella, and Assistant U.S. Attorney Cynthia Cordes both declined to comment to The Associated Press after the hearing.
(Copyright 2011 by The Associated Press.  All Rights Reserved.)

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