NEW YORK -- A man had a consensual relationship with a Wisconsin woman who alleges he held her captive as his sex slave for more than a week after she answered an apartment ad on Craigslist, his lawyer said.
John Hopkins, 45, pleaded not guilty to rape and other charges Friday. Police say Hopkins told the 27-year-old woman she could live with him for free in his Brooklyn apartment if she cooked and cleaned when she answered the ad last month.
Hopkins' attorney, Andrew Stoll, said Hopkins and the woman knew each other for two years and had a consensual relationship. The woman even wanted to return to the apartment after Hopkins kicked her out for excessive drinking, Stoll said.
"It stretches credibility beyond the breaking point to say that from the get-go, she was being held against her will," Stoll said. "I cannot imagine there will be a conviction here."
But Assistant District Attorney Christopher Laline said in court that Hopkins "set up slave rules" for her, along with a list of punishments if she disobeyed, including flogging her and chaining her to a radiator, forcing her to drink water and preventing her from using the bathroom, and sexually molesting her.
"This is a heinous crime," Laline said.
The woman eventually e-mailed her mother in Wisconsin, who called police. Officers found her in the apartment on Feb. 12; authorities withheld her name because of the nature of her complaint.
Judge Patricia DiMango denied Stoll's request to reduce Hopkins' $350,000 bail and said that the defendant's alleged treatment of the woman could be considered criminal even if it was consensual.
"At some point, it can change to a situation where no means no," DiMango said. "There comes a time when they're not playful fun anymore and they become dangerous – criminally dangerous."