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Wife of accused Missouri sex slave master charged

Wife of accused Missouri sex slave master charged

March 31st, 2011 by BILL DRAPER, Associated Press in News

KANSAS CITY, Mo. (AP) - A southwest Missouri woman who said she shared the same bed with her husband and his sex slave for years has been charged with participating in a sex trafficking conspiracy involving the young woman.

Marilyn Bagley, 45, of rural Lebanon, was charged in federal court Wednesday with conspiracy, sex trafficking, forced labor trafficking, document servitude and use of an interstate facility to facilitate unlawful activity.

During a hearing Wednesday in Kansas City, Bagley pleaded not guilty on all charges and was freed on her own recognizance. Her public defender, P.J. O'Connor, declined to comment afterward.

Bagley is accused of conspiring with her husband and co-defendant, Edward Bagley, to recruit a 16-year-old girl to live with them in their mobile home and then grooming the girl to be a sex slave. Prosecutors said the couple promised the girl, who grew up in foster care homes, "a great life" in which they would help her become a model and dancer and make her "dreams come true."

Four other men - two of whom already have pleaded guilty to a conspiracy count - were charged with having sex with and torturing the woman in the Bagleys' trailer after she turned 18 and signed a sex slave contract that she was told was binding and never ending.

Federal prosecutors said the woman, whom they refer to as the "female victim," was mentally deficient had been previously abused when the Bagleys took her in and gave her a bedroom of her own.

Edward Bagley is accused of beating, whipping, flogging, suffocating, electrocuting and mutilating the young woman and posting videos on Internet sites, then letting other men participate in similar acts in exchange for steaks, cigarettes, clothing, lighters and cash. Marilyn Bagley is accused of not doing anything to stop the abuse.

Prosecutors said the alleged victim was forced to work as an exotic dancer and was threatened with punishment if she was not a top earner at the clubs where she stripped.

She also appeared on the cover of the July 2007 issue of Taboo, a publication owned by Larry Flynt's Hustler Magazine Group, and was the subject of a story and multipage photo spread inside.

After her husband was charged last year, Marilyn Bagley told The Associated Press that prosecutors had threatened to also charge her in the case if she didn't agree to testify against him. She said she was not going to take the stand against her husband because she believed neither she nor he had done anything wrong.

The U.S. Attorney's Office in Kansas City denies that threat was ever made.

"It's absolutely false," said spokesman Don Ledford. "If her claim is that she was threatened that if she didn't testify against her husband she would be indicted, that claim is absolutely false. We didn't tell her that."

The superseding indictment announced Wednesday also includes new charges against another defendant in the case, Bradley Cook, 32, of St. Louis.

Those charges including attempting to hire a hit man to kill the female victim, attempting to tamper with a victim, attempted retaliation against a witness and attempted tampering with a witness.

In court documents filed earlier this year, prosecutors claimed Cook attempted to hire a hit man while he was incarcerated in Leavenworth, Kan., to kill both the victim and Assistant U.S. Attorney Cynthia Cordes. Cook was moved to a jail in Bates County, Mo., the female victim was placed into protective custody and additional security measures were put in place to protect Cordes.

Wednesday's indictment does not include anything about the alleged threats against the assistant prosecutor, who can't file charges on that claim because it would be a conflict of interest.

James Noel of Springfield and Dennis Henry of Wheatland have pleaded guilty to conspiracy. The other defendant, Michael Stokes, 62, of Lebanon, remains jailed without bond.

Marilyn Bagley's trial is scheduled to begin May 27.