Pennsylvania Man Accused Of Harboring Runaway For Decade Pleads Guilty
Tuesday, June 26th 2007, 4:05 pm
By: News On 6
PITTSBURGH (AP) _ A former school security guard accused of keeping a teenage runaway in his home for a decade and having sex with her pleaded guilty Tuesday and was sentenced to five to 15 years in prison.
Thomas John Hose, 49, took in the 14-year-old girl and kept her from leaving the tiny home he shared with his parents and son, prosecutors said. Tanya Nicole Kach, now 25, has said the two regularly had sex during her captivity.
He pleaded guilty to all counts just as his trial was about to start.
Hose, of McKeesport, had been a security guard at Kach's school, and Kach went to live with him in February 1996. She has said she had a crush on him.
In recent years, Kach said she had been allowed out occasionally. Last March, she revealed her identity as a runaway to a deli owner she had befriended, leading to Hose's arrest in March 2006.
The Associated Press normally does not name victims of suspected sex crimes, but Kach has spoken with reporters about her experience. Kach, who approved of the plea, did not speak to the media after leaving court.
During the hearing, Kach read a letter to Hose, her voice faltering and her eyes welling with tears.
``I just want to know why you did what you did to me for 10 years. Why?'' Kach asked. Hose took away her innocence and made her feel as though no one loved her, she said.
``It's so sad to say, but I was a puppet, nothing but a puppet,'' she said, saying Hose controlled what she wore and ate and even how she styled her hair. ``I'm not that dominated puppet anymore.''
She said he repeatedly told her: ``Oh, you're just a pretty face. You're so stupid, you'd be nothing without me.''
Hose apologized: ``Only God knows how sorry I truly am.''
But he also said Kach repeatedly told him: ``Thank you, because without you, I'd be dead or in the streets.''
Hose's comments drew a rebuke from Allegheny County Judge John Zottola: ``I think, Mr. Hose, you give yourself too much credit.''
Kach is in therapy but has finished her first semester of college and is volunteering at a senior home, said Lawrence Fisher, her attorney in a civil case against Hose.
Hose's attorney, Jim Ecker, said he was pleased with the outcome, noting that Hose could have faced more than 100 years in prison.
Ecker said he hoped Hose would get the help he needs in prison. ``He's a very high risk for suicide, a very, very depressed kind of person,'' the lawyer said.
Hose's trial had been scheduled to begin Tuesday, but instead he pleaded guilty to statutory sexual assault, three counts of involuntary deviate sexual intercourse, two counts of indecent assault and one count each of endangering the welfare of children, corruption of a minor, interference with custody of children and aggravated indecent assault. He was not charged with kidnapping.
Also on Tuesday, a beautician accused of helping Kach run away by changing her looks pleaded no contest.
Judith Sokol, 59, of Duquesne, pleaded no contest to statutory sexual assault, interference with the custody of a minor, endangering the welfare of a child and corruption of minors. Sokol was not accused of direct sexual behavior, but prosecutors said she was an accomplice because she gave Hose and Kach a place to have sex.
Kach has sued Hose, Sokol, McKeesport and others in federal court. Her attorney in that lawsuit, Lawrence Fisher, said Kach was relieved to have the criminal case behind her.
While Kach may have run away, Fisher said she ``almost immediately'' found herself unable to leave. ``When she attempted to leave, she was threatened with her life,'' he said.