KANSAS CITY, Mo. (CN) – A St. Louis-area man indicted in “one of the most violent and horrific cases that the U.S. attorney’s office has ever seen” will remain in jail until trial. Bradley Cook, 32, of Kirkwood, is one of five men accused of sexually torturing a mentally disabled woman or watching online as others tortured her.
FBI agent Samuel Benson testified during a 2-hour hearing that Cook abused other women, including his live-in girlfriend. Benson said that Cook liked to use an old-style hand-cranked phone to shock the victim while she was held down by another man.
Benson said the victim tried to use a safe word to stop the abuse, but Cook laughed and cranked harder.
Cook pleaded not guilty Tuesday to charges of conspiracy; sex trafficking by force, fraud or coercion; use of an interstate facility to facilitate an unlawful activity; and possession of a firearm.
His lawyers claim the acts were consensual and that prosecutors are trying to criminalize an unusual, but acceptable and legal lifestyle.
Prosecutors painted a different picture. Assistant U.S. Attorney Cynthia Cordes told the St. Louis Post-Dispatch it was “one of the most violent and horrific cases that the U.S. attorney’s office has ever seen.”
Cordes had previously argued that “the evidence in this case indicates that the defendant’s sexually deviant behavior is compulsive and/or addictive, and that he cannot go long periods of time without engaging in the torture of a victim.”
Edward “Master Ed” Bagley, 43, of Lebanon, Mo., allegedly held the woman, known as “FV,” for 5 years. Bagley, Cook and three others were indicted on Sept. 7 on charges that could carry a penalty of life in prison.
Prosecutors claim Bagley marked “FV” with a bar code on her neck, a tribal tattoo with an “S” for slavery on her back and the Chinese symbol for slave on her ankle. Court papers state Bagley also: pierced and sewed “FV’s” vaginal opening and breasts with metal piercings and needles; whipped her body, breasts, genitalia and anus with paddles, canes and floggers; tied her up naked, suspended her in the air and stretched her limbs in opposite directions; shocked her with electrical devices; waterboarded her; gave her abortions with crude devices; and tortured her in other ways that are too repellent to be quoted, even from a legal document.
Prosecutors say the torture escalated over time and included live Web shows.
Bagley allegedly threatened to kill FV and demonstrated his force by shooting animals she cared for in front of her. The torture stopped on Feb. 27, 2009 when Bagley was forced to seek emergency medical attention for FV after she suffered a cardiac arrest during the torture, court papers state.
A victim’s rights organization, the Kansas City Alliance Against Human Trafficking, has set up a fund to help the woman.