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Final defendants sentenced in Lebanon, Mo., sex bondage and torture case

Updated: 2013-09-12T22:23:26Z


The Kansas City Star

A federal judge on Thursday sentenced a Springfield, Mo., man to five years in prison for his role in a sex torture and bondage ring based out of Lebanon, Mo.

James Noel, 47, admitted when he pleaded guilty in February 2011 that he flogged and shocked a young woman whom co-defendant Edward Bagley had kept as a sex slave in his rural trailer home.

He acknowledged bringing Bagley steaks, cigarettes, cots, clothing, lighters and cash when he came to the trailer for sessions with the victim.

Noel also admitted using an old-fashioned crank telephone to administer electrical shocks to sensitive parts of the victim’s body.

“He wanted to watch the tears run down my face,” the victim testified. “He got more aroused as I cried.”

Noel would make her count down the seconds before he stopped administering the electric shock, she said.

Noel told the judge that he was remorseful.

“I’d like to extend my sincere apologies to” the victim, Noel said. “I know my actions were wrong.”

Thursday was the second day of sentencing hearings in the case.

On Wednesday, Bagley, 46, and co-defendant Bradley Cook, 34, of Kirkwood, Mo., each was sentenced to 20 years in prison. Dennis Henry, 53, of Wheatland, Mo., was sentenced to 10 years.

Although the victim had appeared grim Wednesday during three trips to the lectern to describe what each of the three men had done to her, she actually smiled on her first trip up the aisle Thursday.

“I’m doing better today,” she told U.S. District Judge Dean Whipple.

Later, before she sat down for the last time, Whipple was clear about his appreciation of her courage and testimony.

“I commend you for your confidence in speaking here,” Whipple said. “I wish you success in the future.”

Bagley’s wife, Marilyn Bagley, 48, was sentenced to five years of probation Thursday. Assistant U.S. Attorney Cynthia Cordes described Marilyn Bagley as a “victim turned perpetrator.”

The Lebanon woman admitted at her December plea hearing that she and her husband invited the victim to live with them after hearing of her troubled life, which included physical and sexual abuse and several stints in foster care.

Marilyn Bagley acknowledged that she coached the victim on how to behave as her husband’s sex slave and watched over the years as he subjected her to electrical shocks, near suffocation and penetration with skewers.

“She taught me how to get through it, but she never helped me,” the victim testified.

But in the end, the victim felt she had something in common with Marilyn Bagley.

“She is a victim. … She deserves to be free now too,” the victim said.

Michael Stokes, 65, also of Lebanon, received a five-year sentence Thursday.

Stokes acknowledged at his January 2012 guilty plea hearing that he met Edward Bagley on the Internet, where Bagley bragged that the victim was his slave for life and that she was “required to do everything and anything.”

In as many as a dozen visits to the trailer, Stokes admitted, he was stunned that Bagley “had that much control over someone.” He confessed that he also tortured the victim and brought Bagley gifts, such as steaks, hamburgers, jackets, personalized playing cards, lighters, cigarettes and cash so the visits would continue.

“They traded things, and I was just one of those things,” the victim testified.

Stokes pleaded for mercy, saying he wanted to return to his family.

“I’m an old man who made a poor choice,” he said. “I was misled by Mr. Bagley.”

Prosecutors indicted the case in September 2010 and said the allegations were “among the most horrific ever prosecuted in this district.”

Whipple also ordered each defendant to pay the victim more than $123,000 in restitution, a total of $738,250.

All the defendants will face additional restrictions once they are released from prison or are on probation. As long as they are under court supervision, they must be in their homes between 10:30 p.m. and 6 a.m. unless they are at work, Whipple ordered.

Noel and Stokes will be on supervised release for three years. Edward Bagley, Cook and Henry will be for the rest of their lives.

To reach Mark Morris, call 816-234-4310 or send email to

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