A former Pennsylvania school security guard accused of keeping a teenage runaway in his home for a decade and having sex with her pleaded guilty 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 the decade she was in the home.
Hose 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.
The Associated Press normally does not name victims of 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.
In court, Kach read from a letter, 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 only he loved her, she said.
"It's so sad to say, but I was a puppet, nothing but a puppet," Kach said, noting that Hose controlled what she ate, drank and wore. "I am not that dominated puppet anymore."
Hose apologized, saying "Only God knows how sorry I truly am," Hose said.
But he also said he remembers Kach repeatedly telling him, "Thank you, because without you, I'd be dead or in the streets."
Hose's trial was 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.
Hose's attorney, Jim Ecker, said he was pleased with the outcome, noting Hose was facing more than 100 years as maximum and 15 to 20 years in mandatory sentences.
Also on Tuesday, a Judith Sokol, beautician who helped Kach run away by changing her looks, pleaded no contest a handful of charges. The plea has the same effect as a guilty plea but the defendant neither acknowledges or denies the charge.
Kach has sued Hose and Sokol among others in federal court. Her attorney in that lawsuit, Lawrence Fisher, said Kach was relieved to have the criminal case behind her.
Hose attempted suicide by stabbing himself in the stomach just before his trial in February. The trial was delayed again in May, when his attorney said Hose still had anxiety problems and wanted to hang himself.