A Salem man is being held without bail after he allegedly kidnapped a woman in Connecticut and brought her back to Danvers to work against her will as a prostitute.
James “Sonny” Morse, 38, of 72 Highland Ave. in Salem faces charges of attempted murder, kidnapping, assault and battery, assault and battery with a dangerous weapon, resisting arrest, deriving support from prostitution and detaining or drugging a person in a brothel.
After his arraignment on Friday at Salem District Court, Judge Matthew Nestor ordered Morse held without bail at Middleton Jail. He is scheduled for a dangerousness hearing on Tuesday.
It started on Sunday when police said that Morse allegedly approached a 26-year-old woman who was walking down a street in Stamford, Conn. He told the woman that he had money and the victim offered to clean his house.
Morse allegedly had two other women with him that he runs an escort service and said they were working for him. Those two women are not facing charges. She told the victim she could not leave, according to documents.
Morse allegedly took the victim at first to a hotel in Stamford and then drove to another hotel in Providence, R.I. the next day. On the drive there Morse allegedly told the victim that he had a gun.
They were in Providence for two days and on Wednesday drove to Danvers, where they checked in at Comfort Inn, according to court documents.
That’s when Morse actually left with one of the other women, saying that they needed to go to New York for a court date for one of the women, documents indicated. But the victim stayed in the Danvers hotel room with the other women and an ad for her was placed on backpage.com that lead to “relations” with 10 men, the victim told police.
After returning from New York early Thursday morning, Morse allegedly punched her, used a pillow to try to suffocate her and hit her with a clothes hanger. Police also alleged that he forced her to strip naked and whip her with a belt. Not long after returning from New York, he checked into another room with one of the other women. When he left the room and the women who was left in the room with her fell asleep at about 10 a.m. on Thursday, the victim went down to the front desk at the hotel and asked them to call police, documents indicated.
Officer Jarod Waterman arrived and heard the victim’s story of being kidnapped in Connecticut and being brought to Danvers. A records check found that the woman had been reported missing in Connecticut.
Waterman called for backup and went to the hotel room — with a maintenance worker who had a key — where Morse was allegedly staying, according to docuements. At first the maintenance worker told Morse, through the door, that he needed to get in because of a maintenance issue. When there was no response, they used the key to open the door but the interior lock was being used. Along with Officer Adam French, Officer Derek Colella and Detective Sgt. William Carleton, they told Morse that it was the Danvers police, they had a warrant for his arrest and forced open the door, according to documents.
Morse had two outstanding warrants, for malicious destruction of property from both Brockton and Lynn district courts.
After a struggle where Morse allegedly tried to tuck his hands under himself as he moved toward the bed, he was arrested. After the arrest, “large amounts of cash” fell to the floor, and police said they recovered $6,453 in cash from the room.
The woman staying in the room with him was found naked and wrapped in a blanket.
In addition to the cash, police also seized 5.3 grams of marijuana, a cell phone, two laptop computers from Morse, according to case documents.