For Immediate Release
February 24, 2011

Springfield Man Pleads Guilty in Sex Trafficking Conspiracy, Admits Torturing Woman Coerced as Sex Slave
Human Trafficking Rescue Project

KANSAS CITY, MO—Beth Phillips, United States Attorney for the Western District of Missouri, announced that a Springfield, Missouri man pleaded guilty in federal court today to his role in a sex trafficking conspiracy in which a young, mentally deficient woman was coerced into being a sex slave for several years while she was tortured in a trailer home located in a wooded area in Lebanon, Missouri.

James Noel, 45, of Springfield, pleaded guilty before U.S. District Judge Dean Whipple to the charge contained in a Sept. 7, 2010, federal indictment.

Noel admitted that he was one of the customers who sexually abused and tortured the female victim, who is identified as “FV.” Noel watched the victim being tortured and sometimes operated torture devices himself beginning in 2006, when she was approximately 20 years old. Noel knew that FV hated being electrocuted with a crank phone, which was one of the torture devices used to electrocute her, but he used it on her anyway.

Noel described the crank phone and another electrical device that was used to torture FV as “extremely painful.” Noel electrocuted FV with the crank phone himself and sometimes two men tortured FV with crank phones at the same time. These devices were wired inside FV’s vaginal and anal openings and to her toes. Noel admitted that he paid $300 for a special “show” that lasted two or three hours and included these sex acts.

According to today’s plea agreement, Noel described FV as mentally delayed for her age. He believed she lacked the ability to communicate normally and had a limited vocabulary. Noel admitted that FV did not have any ability to offer an opinion or refuse to follow orders.

Under federal statutes, Noel is subject to a sentence of up to five years in federal prison without parole, plus a fine up to $250,000 and an order of restitution. A sentencing hearing will be scheduled after the completion of a presentence investigation by the United States Probation Office.

This case is being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorneys Cynthia L. Cordes and John Cowles. It was investigated by the Federal Bureau of Investigation in conjunction with the Human Trafficking Rescue Project