KANSAS CITY, Mo. -- Six people convicted in a brutal sex slave case are now finding out how many years they will spend behind bars, and for the first time the victim shared her story of torture and abuse in front of the federal judge in Kansas City.
The U.S. Attorney said this is much more than a human trafficking case, it's about the "brutal sexual torture and enslavement" of a young woman who was just a teenager when it all began.
The woman said she endured years of abuse and torture in a trailer in Lebanon, Mo., including electric shocks and suffocation. When she met Ed Bagley Sr., she was 16 years old. In federal court on Wednesday, she described a hard life being passed around to foster homes, and Bagley offered her a way out. He gave her her own room in the trailer and he made her feel "pretty" and "special."
Just before she turned 17 years old, she signed a contract with Bagley to be his sex slave "forever" and he kept her in chains and cages. The victim said she was told she'd be killed if she tried to escape. She said he would advertise her "services" online and in magazines. Bagley said in the past their relationship was consensual but he accepted the plea agreement and will spend 20 years behind bars.
Bradley Cook from Kirkwood, Mo. will also spend 20 years in prison after confessing to paying Bagley to torture and abuse the victim. He said he believed that it was not consensual and the abuse was the "most extreme he had ever seen." In court, the victim described how Cook "laughed when I suffered, while I cried and begged."
When Dennis Henry went before the judge, he apologized to the victim for "any harm caused to her." He also apologized to his family friends and the community, he was the postmaster in Nevada, Mo. The victim said Henry was the only person she ever turned to for help, but she said "he snitched on me... I paid hell for it."
Three more people will be sentenced on Thursday. Two men, James Noel and Michael Stokes, face five years in prison for their role in abusing the woman. In a plea agreement, Bagley's wife Marilyn will get only probation, because prosecutors say she knew about the abuse and torture but they consider her a victim as well.
In court, the victim shared one message of hope for others, saying "women trapped as slaves, you need to get out. They need to know life can get better. Save yourself."
The U.S. Attorney's office said this is the first case in the nation where customers, or "Johns," have been convicted under the Trafficking Victims Protection Act, where the victim was an adult. In addition to federal prison time, each of the suspects will pay $120,000 towards the victims medical and psychological treatment.