St. Louis-area man accused of sexual torture

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ST. LOUIS (AP) — A St. Louis County man sexually tortured five women in his apartment at separate times over a period of several years, using threats and psychological control to keep them from leaving or going to police, the county prosecutor said Tuesday.

Adam Michael Capriglione, 29, of south St. Louis County, faces 19 felony charges including forcible rape, forcible sodomy, felonious restraint and domestic assault. He was indicted last week and the charges were announced Tuesday. Capriglione is jailed on $500,000 bond.

"The level of violence and torture and depravity that has been inflicted on these women is something that makes him a particularly dangerous man," St. Louis County prosecutor Bob McCulloch said at a news conference. He urged anyone else believed to be a victim to contact police.

Authorities said the crimes date back eight years, but police were first alerted in January. McCulloch said a victim who met Capriglione on an Internet social site went to a medical center to be treated for injuries allegedly inflicted in one of their encounters. The medical center contacted police on the woman's behalf.

Investigators then learned of at least four other victims, the prosecutor said.

McCulloch said each case followed a "remarkably similar" pattern with Capriglione and the woman establishing a romantic relationship that soon escalated into extreme violence. He said Capriglione was able to keep the women from leaving him or going to police by using threats and inflicting a psychological hold on them. McCulloch did not elaborate.

He said there was never more than one woman held at the same time. The amount of time each was with Capriglione varied.

The women were not physically restrained, but McCulloch said, "They were not free to leave and they would understand there would be dire consequences" if they left.

A probable cause statement and the indictment describe horrific abuse. One woman was allegedly choked until she fell unconscious. That same woman was allegedly burned with heated scissors, cut, and beaten with a rubber mallet.

Capriglione allegedly covered the face of another with plastic wrap, and punched another in the eye. He is also accused of deviate and potentially harmful sexual activities with the women. In some cases, dangerous objects were used to sodomize them, according to court documents.

One of the women was underage at the time the relationship began in 2007, and Capriglione faces a charge of sexual exploitation of a minor for allegedly videotaping her performing sex acts. Capriglione also faces a child endangerment charge because a 4-year-old was in the apartment at the time of his arrest, and a knife was found in a cereal box. McCulloch would not say if the child was Capriglione's.

St. Louis County Police Sgt. Francis Gomez said Capriglione is self-employed in a computer-related job, but he didn't know the specifics.

Capriglione's attorney, Joseph Green, said his client has never been charged with a felony before now. He said one of the women bringing the allegations is involved in a child custody battle with Capriglione, while the others are his former girlfriends.

"In order to ensure a fair trial, this case will be dealt with in the courts and not in the media," Green said in a statement. "I encourage people to not rush to judgment. As the case proceeds forward, facts will come to light that will dampen the sensationalism."

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