Alternative Press spoke with a number of women who detailed the nature of their relationships and experiences with Francis. While all of their stories are different, there are some common threads among them including the tattoos for Francis, contracts signed in blood and the prayer (see below) Francis reportedly asked them to recite for him.
The Lord’s Prayer
I am my Master’s whore. There will never be another with whom I give my affection, trust, lips or touch. My Master commands and defines me, for without him I am nothing. Without him I am lost. I will follow and serve him all of my days, My only purpose in this life is providing pleasure and purpose for my Lord and Saviour in any form that he desires, be it lust, be it pain, be it suffering in the rain. I will oblige my Master always. I will put my faith and absolute trust into his charge and allow him to guide and direct me all of my days. Forever and always I am my Master’s whore.
The women we spoke to are diverse in age and geographical location. One thing all these women had in common, however, is that they were taken by Francis’ charisma and they all say they were all in a vulnerable state whether it be because of their age, naivete or own personal emotional contexts.
Stankova says she first met Francis in 2014 while he was touring Europe with Combichrist. At this point, she had heard of Francis because she recreationally wrote reviews for a music blog, but she says she was not a fan and was there with friends to see Combichrist.
She says she was at the bar having a glass of wine when she first encountered Francis, and says he bought her a cocktail. Stankova says prior to the cocktail the only drink she had was the glass of wine, but from that point on her memory of the evening becomes foggy.
She says the next thing she remembers was being backstage kneeling in front of Francis. He was grabbing the back of her head as she was performing oral sex on him. She says she didn’t remember why she was there and that there were people around while that was happening, but they didn’t seem to care.
She says the next thing she remembered was waking up alone, semi-nude and covered in bruises backstage. She says she was unsure how long she was gone, and she quickly got dressed and went to find her friends. She was afraid to tell her friends about what happened because she was unsure and because they used to joke about “groupie girls” and she was ashamed.
She says he sent a woman from his crew to ask her to go backstage again, but she refused. She went back to the bar with her friend and says Francis approached her again to apologize and ask her for her number, but she refused and left.
She believes one of her friends gave him her number, because she says he reached out the next day and when she didn’t respond he found her on Facebook and tried to communicate with her there.
In her interview with Det. Adams, she said that when Francis wrote to her he said the things he’d done were an “accident and that he couldn’t help himself because he felt something suddenly about me.” She says Francis said he wanted to prove to her that wasn’t who she saw that night and that he was a nice guy, which is why he wanted to see her again.
When asked why she would agree to communicate with Francis and see him after such a traumatizing experience Stankova said it was easier to believe that nothing bad had happened to her.
“I think I just accepted his game, because for me it was somehow soothing to believe that nothing bad had happened,” she says. “It was really a terrifying feeling. I wanted to believe that everything was all right and he just wanted to get to know me.”
She says he asked her to be his submissive and to bring a contract signed in her blood to his show in Hamburg, Germany, in December 2014. After that their relationship continued, and she traveled to the U.S. on multiple occasions to see Francis.
In January of 2017, during her visit to the Extended Stay America in Federal Way, she says Francis demanded to search through her phone, and when she refused he forced a gun in her mouth. On another occasion (Aug. 25, 2016, in Federal Way), she says he forced her to flush all of her birth control pills down the toilet.
“He told me that if I got pregnant he would like to beat the baby out of my body,” she says. “I told him I thought it was totally twisted, and I didn’t want to, but he wouldn’t allow [me to refuse], so when I went home I got new pills and started to take them in secret.”
According to the police report, Stankova claims that she gave Francis about $150,000 over the course of their relationship, however no documents proving this were included in the report. She said the money was supposed to be for Francis to build a place for them.
On one of her visits to the U.S. she says she didn’t have money that she was supposed to bring, but she didn’t tell him before she came because she was worried he wouldn’t see her. She says when he found out he was very angry and during their encounter he beat her like never before, hitting her in the face and stomach with his fists and when she fell to the ground, kicking her.
“He wanted to show me that I need to be punished,” she says. “At the same time, he was telling me he had never done such horrendous things to anyone else before, and that I have awakened something very evil in him and that he liked it and it made him love me even more than before.”
When asked why she would continue to see a man who treated her so horribly, Stankova says she was made to believe this was love. “Being with him was horrible,” she says, “but he made me believe that being without him would be much worse.”
As the blog was receiving attention, Francis spoke with AP. “Here’s the reality: I was in a relationship with a woman from the Czech Republic. We broke up toward the end of last summer,” he says. “We tried to speak and work it out, tried to remain friends. But shit didn’t work out, so I decided that I was going to change my number. And she got real fucking pissed at that. She decided she was going to call the police here in Federal Way and say that I raped her.”
Francis says the Tumblr account “has heavily edited text messages that show one side of the story and make me look like a monster.”
Stankova provided the following exchange she says occurred after the pair broke off their relationship:
Unlike Stankova, Melanie, 21, whose name has been changed to protect her family, was a fan of Francis’ music. She met him at one of his shows when she 17 and began a relationship with him when she was 18.
“I was a teenage girl, and I was enthralled because the musician I liked was giving me attention and telling me I was beautiful,” she says of the start of their relationship. “He wrote songs about me and all of these different things — he would fly me out to come and see him when he was working on stuff. I sort of made excuses for what he was doing to me. Like, when we had sex, he would do things that I never consented to, which ranged from pissing on me to giving me black eyes so bad they were bleeding to branding me on my chest with his initials like I’m a cow.”
After meeting Francis at 17, Melanie says he asked for her contact information and the two communicated via text. She says the messages were not directly explicit, but they were very flirtatious. It wasn’t until she turned 18 that their relationship became sexual, and she says it went on for two years.
Prior to their relationship, she says she only dated two girls in high school. She says Francis took her virginity.
Of the branding incident, Melanie says it was a direct result of her refusing to get a tattoo of a “W” on her pelvic area. “He asked me to get this tattoo, and I told him no,” she recalls. “His reaction to that the next time he saw me was to tie me down, put a gag in my mouth so I couldn’t say no and carve his initial into my chest.”
Melanie also says she still enjoys BDSM, but what she experienced with Francis was not BDSM. Throughout their relationship she contends she was never given a safe word, though she says he did perform some form of aftercare through cuddling following their encounters.
“When we were doing stuff, I would do certain things to get him to stop or go easier on me—like I would start hyperventilating or go totally unresponsive or sometimes I blacked out,” she says. “He never did stop what he was doing no matter what. And he was—you know, he doesn’t do safe words with anybody. Now, if you ask him, he will give you a different answer. But before he would say that he just doesn’t like them—or he doesn’t do them. He wants complete control. And that means ignoring safety.”
Hannah (who also wishes to use an alias), 31, moved to the U.S. from England and is the widow of a musician in an influential band. She originally met Francis through her late husband.
After her husband’s sudden death in 2013, she says Francis reached out to her with comforting words. A few months after her loss, she says he contacted her to be featured on one of his songs because she also is a musician. He flew her out to California to collaborate on the song.
She went to the studio and suggested parts for herself to sing and says Francis later recorded himself singing them. After the recording session, Hannah says they went to a hotel near LAX airport and one thing led to another. “He gave me a few glasses of wine. And this was a few months after [my husband’s death],” she says. “Loneliness took over; everyone has needs, so we basically hooked up.”
She says after returning home she had a strange feeling he had recorded their encounter. She reached out to him and asked him about it saying he responded, “Yeah, you’ll see when the track comes out.” “And when I was sent the track, it was very obviously my moans without consent,” she says. “Some of the things I was saying while we were hooking up and then some other person who I could not even say who it was. But it was clearly two people on that track, and one of them was me. So he recorded us having sex without my consent and then put it on a song.”
She says Francis made it seem as though he was there to help her rebuild her life. However, it quickly became apparent that he wanted full control over her.
“I was to do everything that he says. I was to get permission anytime anyone were to come over to my house. I was to say a prayer every morning and every night when I was to go to bed. Basically, worship him like a God,” she says. “Literally, it is cringeworthy now, but he had me so brainwashed. You know, my husband had died, and I was so in need of someone to lean on. I was like, ‘I don’t even want to think for myself.’ He had already groomed me to the point, into me thinking that this was a good idea.”
She says he also put a tracker on her phone and if she wasn’t home by her 9 p.m. curfew she would be punished. The “punishment” ranged from making her get on her knees and send a picture every five minutes until he told her she could get up to making her slap herself across the face 60 times and send a recording.
In addition to what she calls horrendous beatings and complete command over her life, Hannah says Francis convinced her to become a camgirl to make money for him. “He made it just seem like an innocent idea in order to help us progress in life so we could live happily ever after,” she says. “But it wasn’t just an innocent idea; it was all calculated.”
Hannah says that although their relationship ultimately ended and she has moved on with her life, the whole ordeal still affects her to this day.
“There is not a night that goes by where I don’t have a nightmare or a dream about this man,” she says. “What’s so messed up is even though I hate him and hate what he did to me so much, I still have dreams where I am trying to win him back and get his approval because he has brainwashed us all into that state of mind.”
Another woman Francis had a relationship with is a 39-year-old in the U.K. We’ll call her Lydia. Lydia also was a fan of his music and was introduced to him at a show in 2010. She says she was interested in learning about BDSM, and Francis seemed knowledgeable. She also says she had a bit of a crush on him, but she didn’t believe it would go anywhere.
She says she sent him a message in 2014 and the relationship grew from there. After reaching out, she was attending a show in Bristol and Francis instructed her to put money in his pocket with a keycard to her hotel room, which she did. He came to her room that night and she says he spanked, slapped and choked her, but there was no sexual contact. Lydia says there was no discussion of limits before, and he left immediately after with no aftercare.
It was a very quick encounter that left her in a state of shock. “I was always the fat, outsider kid, the studious one that got bullied, so to be the one in a hotel room with a rock star, that was just the most bizarre thing on the planet,” she says.
From there things progressed pretty quickly, she says. There was a huge escalation between their first encounter and the second, rather than a gradual increase.
“I was absolutely shitting myself; I was nervous about it,” she recalls. “We went back and he tied me up and put a hood and blindfold on and whispered in my ear that he was going to be very cruel. [He] proceeded to beat me, like a full-on beating.”
Again, they didn’t have sex, and there was no discussion of safe words or limits. After that, Francis would instruct her to bring him coffee and meals, which she would pay for with her own money.
As their relationship progressed, Francis instructed her to send him 250 pounds (approximately $330) each month. Lydia says she agreed because she was afraid of losing him. “He was always so volatile that you just did and said what you knew he wanted to hear whether you agreed with it or not,” she says.
He gave his time in return for money and “the honor of being his,” she says. She would take time off work to follow his tours in the U.K. and spent money on his food and hotel rooms where they could be together.
At one point in January of 2015, she says she ended up taking a leave of absence from work for nearly six months due to severe depression. “William wouldn’t let me [commit suicide], mainly because he wanted to decide when I was going to do it because he has a death fetish,” she says. “He told pretty much all of us, I think, that we would kill ourselves for him one day.”
She says she even began helping with clerical tasks and research for his business and record label and proofreading his book because she wanted to be an asset to him.
“I just wanted to please him and make him happy, and I thought, ‘If I work hard enough, if I do enough then one day it will be enough to make him happy,’” she says.
Lydia says she had to speak to Francis every day and became totally dependent on him. And like the other women, she says if she defied Francis or at any point asked him to stop, he wouldn’t speak to her for extended periods of time. When that happened, she would become severely depressed, sometimes to the point of self-harm.
“When someone is your master, your guide, your everything, just to have that completely ripped out from under you completely knocks you sideways,” she says.
Things reached critical mass in October when Francis became upset with her after she arranged to have photos taken of herself for him. When she sent him some of the photos, she says he became angry and told her she was told not to do any photoshoots. Because she was going through her divorce and didn’t want to be at home, she’d already booked three nights in a hotel.
She says as punishment, Francis told her she needed to kneel naked on the floor of the hotel room’s bathroom and send him a photo every five or 10 minutes to prove she was being obedient. She said after hours of kneeling he allowed her to go to sleep in the bed, but he made her go back to kneeling in the morning. This was especially dangerous for her, she says, because she has Type 1 diabetes. She was so upset by his treatment she says that she self-harmed and contemplated suicide.
“I was terrified of him and how he could hurt me,” she says, “but I was also terrified he would leave me.”
She also says that a friend, who also was briefly involved with Francis, coincidentally texted her while she was in the hotel room. Lydia says she was so upset, she exploded and told the friend about how Francis was treating her. The friend became so enraged that she decided to post about it on FetLife, a social network for people in the BDSM community. Another woman saw the post, recognized it as Francis and decided to out him on Facebook.
That was when the first allegations against Francis came to light in October, and she says that he blamed her. Francis left the tour he was on with Motionless In White and announced he would no longer be touring.
Lydia also says from early on in their relationship, Francis was adamant that she should leave all of her assets to him in the event of her death. This was not something she did until after their relationship ended. She provided images of the documents proving this for Alternative Press.
“I actually ended up doing it in December, my will and my pension payout,” she says, “because I thought that might make him take me back.”