Crime Library: Criminal Minds and Methods

The Case of the Seven-Year Sex Slave

The Company

As time went on Colleen saw very little of Janice or the baby.  For most of the day, she was left chained, blindfolded and stretched out naked on the rack.  Cameron visited her frequently to whip her.  Sometimes when he strung her up, naked and bruised, he would take pictures of her and develop the film himself.  Every once in a while, a more sadistic streak ran through him and he'd hold Colleen's head under water until she would lose consciousness.  She wondered if he'd go too far some time and kill her.  Colleen would frequently ask him when he was going to let her go.  He would always say, “Soon.”

Despite his unrealistic fantasies, Cameron had a practical side.  He realized that keeping Colleen chained to a rack all day could harm her health.  He had to think up another way to keep her under control, so for 10 days he worked on a box that looked like a coffin.  Until it was finished, Colleen had to make do with the rack.  Then into this tiny wooden cell, Cameron placed her sleeping bag.  He shoved earplugs in her ears and chained her up before closing her inside.  There she would remain until he wanted her.

This was the routine for over a month, and at no time was Colleen allowed to shower or clean up.  She lost around twenty pounds and stopped menstruating.  Her world became the box, so she began to adapt.  Cameron had equipped the box with a blower for circulation, but it did not control the temperature, so Colleen learned to approximate the time of day by the temperature inside the box.

Box, under the bed, trial evidence
Box, under the bed, trial evidence

Cameron's bondage sessions with Colleen grew longer and became more frequent.  For added torture, he'd use a heat lamp to burn her skin or to electrocute her.  Sometimes he would strangle her, and the whippings never ceased.  He was sexually excited by all that he did to her, and the sessions would end up with him molesting her, although he did not have sexual intercourse with her.

Then one day, he decided to put her to work.  He constructed a tiny cell that fit under the staircase and into this he placed Colleen, unshackled but blindfolded.  After closing the door, he'd remove the blindfold and order her to shell nuts or do macramé.  This became her small realm of liberty, the only time she had the freedom of movement, contained though it was.

Months came and went, and Colleen turned 21.  She spent that day, as well as Christmas and New Year's Day, in the coffin.  After eight months of submitting to torture and the uncertainty of ever getting away, Colleen suddenly learned something new.

Cameron subscribed to an underground sadomasochistic newspaper called Inside News.  The edition that came out on January 1, 1978 contained an article entitled, “They Sell Themselves Body and Soul When They Sign THE SLAVERY CONTRACT.”

That gave him an idea.  He set about to create a contract, one that would appear to be legally binding.  He gave Colleen the slave name, "K" and he signed the contract himself with a false name, "Michael Powers."  By the end of that month, he made her read the article and then sign the contract as Kay Powers.  She thought what she was reading was pure evil, but he told her that either she would sign it or he would sign it for her and then make her wish she had.  She complied.

The document contained the rules she was to follow, and her signature meant that she agreed to them.  She was now to refer to him as "master," and to keep her body “open” to him at all times for his satisfaction.  If she did not comply, he would not be allowed to keep her, and she might be turned over to someone not as nice as he was.

Contract of Slavery, trial evidence
Contract of Slavery, trial evidence

He lied and told her he paid $1,500 to register her with something called   the Slave Company.  He explained that people with the company were watching them all the time, and they had even bugged the house.  They knew who Colleen's relatives were and would kill them if she ever disobeyed.  Janice was his slave as well, and should either of them attempt to escape, the company would punish them by nailing their hands to a beam and hanging them up for days.

"He always had things to back up his stories," Colleen reported, "and I believed what he said."

Colleen remained his captive for seven years, but the conditions would shift and change with Cameron's obscene inspirations.  She learned to shut down her emotions.  "The more I played his game," she told journalist Betty Lease, "the better it was for me.  If I fought, it went on forever."  She learned that begging for mercy only further incited him, so she stopped asking.  In his presence, she contained her tears so he would not know how she felt.  She used the power of her mind to escape her situation.  But each day she was brought abruptly back.

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