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"Missouri man pleads guilty in sex torture case"

on Tuesday, 22 March 2011. Posted in Media Updates

STL Today.com

One of five Missouri men accused of participating in the sexual slavery of a mentally disabled woman admitted in federal court Thursday that he tortured her and paid to watch another man torture her.

James Noel, 45, of Springfield, Mo., pleaded guilty in U.S. District Court in Kansas City to one count of conspiracy to commit sex trafficking by force, fraud or coercion. He faces up to five years in prison and a fine of up to $250,000, although he has agreed to cooperate with prosecutors and could be rewarded with a lesser sentence.

Authorities began investigating last year, after the woman had a heart attack and was treated at a hospital in Springfield.

She had been living in the trailer home of Ed Bagley near Lebanon, Mo. Authorities claim that Bagley held her against her will, forced her to undergo torture and sex acts and rented her out to other men.

One of those others, officials allege, is Kirkwood resident Bradley Cook, of the 11500 block of Big Bend Road.

Bagley and his wife, Marilyn Bagley, told the Post-Dispatch after Bagley's indictment that the sex was consensual and the "torture" was actually role-playing — part of a chosen lifestyle involving bondage and acts of sadism and masochism. They, and Lebanon-area residents who were interviewed, said the woman showed to signs of being mentally disabled.

In Noel's plea, however, he said that he knew that the woman "was not smart and did not appear to have a full mental capacity of someone her age." He also said she "lacked the ability to communicate normally and had a limited vocabulary" and was an unwilling participant in the torture.

Noel said that he originally heard about her from a co-defendant, Michael Stokes. Authorities allege that both men watched as Bagley tortured the woman. Noel tortured the woman himself and paid Bagley $300 to watch a two- to three-hour session, Noel's plea agreement says. ...

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