4th man changes plea in Missouri sex slave case

KANSAS CITY, Mo. (AP) — A 63-year-old southwest Missouri man pleaded guilty Thursday to providing gifts that included steaks and cash so he could take part in the torture of a woman prosecutors allege was coerced into being a sex slave.

Michael Stokes, of Lebanon, Mo., changed his plea during a hearing in federal court in Kansas City, becoming the fourth and final alleged customer to do so. He faces to up to five years in prison, a $250,000 fine and an order of restitution for taking part in a conspiracy to commit sex trafficking by force, fraud or coercion. His sentencing hasn’t been scheduled.

Prosecutors allege the men sexually tortured the woman in the Lebanon, Mo., mobile home of Edward Bagley over a number of years. The woman went to authorities only after going into cardiac arrest following a torture session.

Bagley and his wife, Marilyn, face related charges and are scheduled for trial Feb. 15. Edward Bagley, however, is seeking a delay. Prosecutors allege the couple groomed the woman to be a sex slave after she moved in with them while she was a teenager.

Prosecutors said Stokes learned of the woman in 2006 when he received pictures of her over the Internet in which she was naked with whip marks over her body. Stokes was told the victim was a slave for “life” who was tortured for hours at a time and was required to do “everything and anything” she was told.

The plea agreement said the victim was brought to Stokes’ house after a few weeks of chatting online. Stokes told authorities he was stunned that “someone had that much control over someone” and “had never seen anything like it.”

He then made as many as a dozen visits to the home where she stayed to participate in sexual acts and torture sessions. Besides steaks and cash, he also brought hamburgers, jackets, personalized playing cards, lighters and cigarettes.

The plea agreement said Stokes also gave $1,000 so the woman could be taken for a sexual bondage photo shoot in California for Taboo magazine. Stokes then took a copy of the magazine to promote her at strip clubs.

Prosecutors said that when Stokes was warned in 2009 that the FBI was investigating, he deleted hundreds of photos from his computer and destroyed his copies of Taboo as well as sexual devices he had acquired.

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