For three years, the victim only could watch as prosecutors, defense lawyers and federal judges battled in court to resolve a grotesque Lebanon, Mo., sex torture and bondage case.
By MARK MORRIS
The Kansas City Star
But Wednesday, at last, was her day.
Three times the young woman, short and pretty, stood from a courtroom bench, walked to a lectern and described how the men who were to be sentenced that morning had hurt her some through near suffocation, mutilation and even skewers through her breasts. All enjoyed applying electrical shocks, she said.
But each man, according to her descriptions, had dealt her a measure of cruelty that has changed forever how she views those around her.
I dont know how to trust men, she said before revealing that she now has a baby daughter. I have to protect her from men like Ed.
Edward Bagley, whom both she and prosecutors have described as her chief tormenter, remained in his seat just a few feet away, looking forlorn while dressed in orange jail scrubs and a pair of blue Crocs.
U.S. District Judge Dean Whipple had just sentenced the Lebanon, Mo., man to 20 years in federal prison.
In quick succession, Bradley Cook of Kirkwood, Mo., also received a 20-year sentence, and Dennis Henry, a former postmaster from Wheatland, Mo., was sentenced to 10 years.
Three other defendants, James Noel of Springfield and Michael Stokes and Bagleys wife, Marilyn Bagley, both of Lebanon, await sentencing today.
When prosecutors filed the case in 2010, they described the young woman as mentally deficient and said the indictments allegations were among the most horrific ever prosecuted in this district.
The allegations of torture were so wrenching that prosecutors chose not to mention them in official statements and a news release.
For five years, according to the indictment, the woman endured sexual torture with techniques described as flogging, whipping, shocking, choking, piercing, sewing and stapling.
Her tormenters nailed intimate body parts to slabs of wood, sewed private orifices shut and forced high levels of electric current through the most sensitive parts of her body.
Defense lawyers responded almost immediately that they hoped to prove that the young woman had consented to the sadomasochistic sex, which would have made it all completely legal.
But as the lawyers reviewed the images and videos of the womans condition, and weighed the prospects of presenting them to a jury, defendants began to plead guilty.
The victim, now in her mid-20s, said Wednesday that her suffering was real.
It started bad and got worse and worse, she said. Ed told me I wasnt good for anything except to be used by him.
U.S. Attorney Tammy Dickinson described the defendants as sexual sadists.
Todays tough sentences should erase any lingering perception that the brutal sexual torture inflicted on this young victim was in any way consensual, Dickinson said in a written statement. Now the tables are turned, as she continues her healing process while they are confined in prison for many years to come.
Bagley, 46, pleaded guilty in January to having a sexual relationship with the victim before her 17th birthday and then grooming her with bondage and sadomasochistic videos for life as his sex slave after she moved into his trailer home.
The woman elaborated in her statement Wednesday, describing a hard life in and out of foster care before meeting Bagley when she was 15 or 16. He promised to protect her, she said. He talked about how he was going to make her look beautiful.
I was so excited about my new life, she testified before recounting the electric shock torture that shoots your arms and legs out, and you want to die.
She added: Ed killed me and brought me back to life.
Cook, 34, admitted at his December 2011 plea hearing that he often watched Bagley abuse the young woman during live online sessions.
Several times, Cook traveled to Lebanon to abuse and torture the woman, leaving Bagley with gifts of hard drives containing images and videos of bondage, domination, sadism and masochism. Cook said at his plea hearing that he believed that the woman had not consented to the acts and that it was the most extreme he had ever seen.
He loved the crank phone and knew how much I feared it, the victim testified Wednesday, talking about one of the torture devices and Cook. I remember how he laughed when I suffered.
Henry, 53, confessed in March 2011 to meeting the young victim in 2004 when Bagley invited him to Lebanon because he had something to show him. There, Bagley presented the girl, who wore chains on her legs and restraints on her wrists.
Henry acknowledged having sex with the victim and whipping her in what he described as Bagleys play room. He also accompanied Bagley and the victim on a 2006 road trip to California, where she was photographed for a magazine. The next year, Henry visited with Bagley and the victim at a Lebanon strip club, where she worked as a dancer.
Id like to apologize to the court and Id like to apologize to (the victim) for any harm I have caused her directly or indirectly, Henry said.
The victim told the court that Dennis is the only person I tried to get help from but he turned me down. Then he snitched me out to Ed. I paid hell for it.
She said she was punished with a long session of electric shocks from an old-fashioned crank telephone.
Please sentence him to the maximum, she pleaded, referring to Henry.
All three defendants sentenced Wednesday were ordered, after their release, to have no contact either with the victim or investigators or prosecutors who pursued the cases against them.
The latter order likely stemmed from an incident in January 2011 in which authorities alleged that they had uncovered a threat from Cook to have Assistant U.S. Attorney Cynthia Cordes killed.
In an agreement filed late Tuesday, the defendants agreed to each be held liable for more than $123,000 in restitution to the victim, for a total of $738,250. The money would pay for $48,000 in surgeries, including tattoo removal, and almost $700,000 in anticipated costs for psychological care.
To reach Mark Morris, call 816-234-4310 or send email to firstname.lastname@example.org.