Festus • Three bail bondsmen picked up a man who skipped out on his bail, then allegedly wiped pepper spray on his genitals and under his eyes while he was handcuffed, authorities allege.
Those charged with felony restraint and misdemeanor assault are Sean Baker, 33, of the 700 block of Ridge Avenue in Festus; Kevin Ritrovato, 28, of the 3800 block of Crystal Woods Drive in Arnold; and Shawn Boyer, 38, of the 700 block of Andrew Street in Jackson, Mo.
The three were employed by F & N Bail Bonds, also known as Junkie's Bail Bonds, 207 South Mill Street in Festus, court documents say.
On June 5, the bondsmen picked up the man in St. Louis. He was wanted on a probation violation and for jumping bail on a Jefferson County theft charge. He owed the bondsmen $225.
Bondsmen post bail for a fee. They have the legal authority to retrieve fugitive clients to avoid paying the full bond for those who don't show up to court.
The man said he went willingly with the bondsmen, but Boyer hit him in the face with a half-full bottle of water while driving to Jefferson County, according to court documents filed Monday in Hillsboro.
Once they arrived at the Festus bond office, Baker allegedly threatened to rape the man while Ritrovato and Boyer laughed and made jokes, the documents say.
Baker ordered the handcuffed man to drop his pants and wiped pepper spray onto a cloth, which he used to rub under the man's eyes and onto his genitals, According to the court papers. A few minutes later, Baker wiped on more spray before providing a warm washcloth for the man.
Using the warm washcloth made the pain "15 times worse," the man told Jefferson County sheriff's investigators. Warm water causes the pores to open. Baker allegedly told the man he knew warm water would cause more pain.
Later, the bondsmen drove the man around for a few hours with the heat on high in the car before taking him to jail. All three offered him cold water in return for oral sex, but the man refused, documents say.
Baker later told authorities that the man had been hit with pepper spray because he had resisted them. Baker said the man must have touched his genitals while using the bathroom, documents say.
The bonding company is owned by Nora Bolin. She declined comment on Tuesday, as did her attorney, David Crosby.
Bolin and all three men are licensed as bail bond agents through the state's department of insurance, financial institutions and professional regulations.
The bond company's website states: "If the devil made you do it, then we'll get you through it!"
Baker and Ritrovato had been pictured on the website wearing sunglasses and business suits, but the photos disappeared from the site sometime Tuesday afternoon.
Michael Lowry, Baker's lawyer, said the allegations are from a "less than credible" source. The other men could not be reached.
Bond for Ritrovato and Boyer was set at $5,000 each. Baker's bond was set at $7,500. They turned themselves in Tuesday morning, immediately posted the 10 percent required to be freed and walked out of the Jefferson County Jail.