NEW YORK — A Wisconsin woman looking for New York City housing on Craigslist made an agreement with a 45-year-old man living in Brooklyn: She'd cook and clean in exchange for free rent. But when she arrived this month, she told police, she was handcuffed to a radiator and made to be the man's sex slave for eight days, acknowledging she left the apartment at least once and returned.
The man, John Hopkins, has been charged with rape, assault and unlawful imprisonment and was being held on $350,000 bail, prosecutors said Tuesday. It wasn't clear who was representing him. Legal Aid was listed as his defense but he apparently has not yet been assigned an attorney.
Rope bolted near the bed
The allegations, detailed in court documents, paint a picture of torture. Officers found the 27-year-old woman Saturday in the studio apartment in the fetal position, shaking, on the bed. A rope was bolted near the bed where he tied her to rape her, she said. Handcuffs she said were used to shackle her to the radiator were found nearby. By the bed, officers found a bag with a ball-gag, whip and a rope.
The woman was taken to a hospital with rectal hemorrhaging and bruising. Authorities withheld her name because of the nature of her complaint.
Authorities were called to the apartment Saturday after the woman's mother contacted authorities in Wisconsin. The woman apparently had broken free that day and contacted her mother, saying she was going to kill herself because she couldn't bear to be locked up anymore, police said. It's not clear why she didn't call 911 herself. Police arrived and found both the man and woman in the apartment.
Allowed to go to work
The woman told police she met Hopkins online, and he bought her a one-way ticket to New York City on Feb. 4. He met her at the airport, and the two took a taxi to his apartment in the East Williamsburg section of Brooklyn. Once inside, according to court documents, he told her she was going to be his slave. Hopkins forced her to call him "master" and let her leave only to go to work, the documents said. She had a job as a chef at a restaurant on Manhattan's Upper East Side, and she left at least once but for some reason returned, authorities said, though it's not clear why. When she did, she was handcuffed again. During the eight days, she was blindfolded, gagged and repeatedly raped and forced to perform oral sex, according to court documents.
It's not clear how long Hopkins had been living at the four-story red brick building. Messages left with Hopkins' neighbors weren't returned, and calls to possible relatives went unanswered.
Hopkins was arrested in 2004 for misdemeanor assault in a domestic violence incident, but the case was dropped. It's not clear what he was advertising on Craigslist or whether the woman had any idea what she was signing up for when she stepped off the plane. He was due in court Friday.