INDEPENDENCE, Mo. - An Independence man who reportedly led an "alternative lifestyle" with three women is accused of beating two of his partners and sexually abusing one of their young daughters.
Morgan Lee Littleton, 31, was charged with four counts of first-degree statutory sodomy, two counts of sexual exploitation of a minor child and four counts of second-degree domestic assault on Wednesday, May 1.
According to the probable cause statement, Littleton told police he's lived with three adult women and two of the women's juvenile daughters for about two months in the home in the 16900 block of E. Cogan Road in Independence.
Police say one of the daughters, a 12-year-old, told an emergency room nurse that Littleton had sexually abused her. She also reportedly told the nurse that all the women in the home refer to Littleton as "Master".
In an interview with the Child Protection Center, the girl said Littleton withheld food from her unless she performed certain sexual acts. When she would cry and say he was hurting her, she said he told her to "deal with it."
Her mother told police on April 29 that she found pictures and video that showed Littleton raping her daughter. Several hours after that discovery, the woman said Littleton choked, slapped and slammed her against a wall because there was no sugar in his coffee.
She said she wasn't able to immediately contact police because Littleton doesn't allow her to use the phone, according to the probable cause statement.
Those videos were confiscated by law enforcement.
Police spoke to another woman who lived in the house, who told them she was also involved in the BDSM lifestyle with Littleton. She said he had slapped her across the face and thrown a cigarette on her because there wasn't any sugar in his coffee that morning, too. She said they all lived in fear of Littleton, and he beat them if they called him by his real name instead of Master.
She also said he threatened to kill them all and bury them in the back yard.
Residents in the area said Littleton and the three women generally kept to themselves. They said they last saw the women moving a significant amount of belongings out of the home Tuesday. Many of them told 41 Action News they had no idea a 12-year-old girl lived there, but they had seen the other child who lived in the home a few times.
That girl, who is the daughter of the third woman in a relationship with Littleton, is believed to be 3 or 4 years old.
The house itself is in disrepair, with broken windows and an out-of-order doorbell alluding to the horrors that allegedly occurred inside. 41 Action News reporter Garrett Haake said there was a large switchblade-style knife sitting on the outside of a windowsill when he arrived at the scene Wednesday.
"We had never seen a 12-year-old there ... it just terrifies me," said neighbor Brandi Bozerocki. "I'm one of those moms who's always checking to see where the child molesters are around our neighborhood. For somebody to not be registered, and this maybe to be their first offense, just absolutely mortifies me and scares me for my kids."
When police questioned Littleton about the alleged incidents of abuse, he denied beating the women and sexually assaulting the 12-year-old girl. After being shown video recordings of the sexual abuse officers found in the home, he asked for a lawyer.
Littleton is being held at the Independence Detention Center on a $500,000 bond. He made his first court appearance Thursday morning, and was escorted inside wearing a bullet-resistant vest. His next appearance is set for May 15.
Garrett Haake contributed to this report.