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.