Newspaper thinks maybe sexual torture was consensual even though torturer has already admitted guilt

On November 5, 2010 the St. Louis Post-Dispatch published a story by Todd C. Frankel under the headline “A Missouri Town’s Doubts about a Sex Torture Case.” One of the perprtrators in this case, James Noel has pled guilty to human trafficking and participating in the torture and rape of a young woman, and all other charges against him in a federal indictment out of the Western District of Missouri Office of the United States Attorney, including himself participating in torturing her by linking an electrical decive to her genitals and knowing that she was in severe pain and unable to escape.

The Post-Dispatch article’s headline is itself victim-blaming and sensational in a way that does victims and survivors of rape, torture, and human trafficking an extreme disservice by perpetuating doubt and re-enforcing damaging assumptions. The article raises doubts about the victim’s veracity and focuses soley on town members’ opinions, who speculate that the victim, according to the indictiment a “mentally defecient” teenager when Edward Bagley, Sr. took her and allegedly began grooming her for torture and sex slavery, was a willing participant. Frankel quotes townspeople and relatives as saying such things as, “They no more held that woman captive than a man in the moon,” and “I just can’t believe they’re saying stuff like that…sounds like an excuse.”

For more information, and to sign a petition against the coverage, go here. (Thanks, Simone!)

7 thoughts on “Newspaper thinks maybe sexual torture was consensual even though torturer has already admitted guilt

  1. We had a recent case of something like this whereby a judge lightened a sentence on a racist because the woman was dressed very provocatively and therefore ‘asking for it’…


  2. Actually, this was a case of an BDSM “edge play” gone sour. I know the facts of the case. Ed Bagley had never admitted guilt. His co-defendants pled guilty to human trafficking because their attorneys tolld didn’t think they could get a fair trial. They were facing a boat load of charges that could have kept them in prison the rest of their lives.

  3. Just about everything you have heard about this case is wrong. You are ready to convict people without giving them a chance to a say single word in their own defense. The female in this case carried her own firearm, and a cell phone. She was treated like royalty by Ed Bagley who did everything in his power to please her. She appeared in Taboo magazine several times. In those photoshoots she is smiling and grinning from ear to ear as she is being subjected to the most humiliating, degrading poses. She does suffer mental health issues, including ADHD. So do many people, that does not mean they can’t consent to a BDSM relationship. All the people who knew her claimed she was happy with her situation, including a former co-worker who lived with her all during the time all the non-consensual torture supposedly took place. Real human traffickers never ask their captives to sign a “slave contract.” That right off the bat was a tipoff that this was a BDSM relationship. The guy who is being charged was her master. She never complained while she was living with the guy. It took the Federal Government years after she left the guy, to file charges against him. No state charges were ever filed against him for committing any crime. He was initially just charged with human trafficking, for crossing state lines with her to have her shoot a spread for Taboo Magazine. The girl who tortured her during the Taboo photo shoot was not prosecuted. Everyone who knew this females said she was proud of her shoot, and the newly found attention. She had been abandoned by her parents, who are the ones who first convinced her to prosecute Ed. She was initially used by Ed Bagley. Now, she is being used by the FBI and a human trafficking crusader to further their agenda. They claim that human trafficking is rampant all over the US, but all they can find is this one case of a BDSM relationship gone bad. The female in question was free to leave Ed Bagley’s trailer park home anytime she wanted. The defendants admitted they tortured this female, and they took her across state lines to appear in her Taboo photo shoot. The fact is she tacitly consented to everything that was done to her. All she had to do was tell Ed Bagley, that she would leave him if he ever did x, y, z again, and he would have stopped doing it.

  4. FrankoTruth: My understanding is that “tacit consent” is not even remotely considered adequate by responsible practitioners of BDSM. And smiling in pictures does not actually indicate genuine enjoyment. If there was genuine, full, explicit consent, then an injustice was indeed done. But you haven’t convinced me that was the case.

  5. also, some things can’t, in law, be consented to. Linking an electrical device to someone’s genitals and using it to cause pain is likely to cause burning and scarring, and in many jurisdictions that’s enough to mean you can’t in law consent to it.

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