A former middle school security guard pleaded guilty today to holding a student captive in his house for 10 years and forcing her to have sex with him.
Thomas Hose, 49, was sentenced to a maximum sentence of 15 years in prison, but he could get out after only five years, his attorney told ABC News.
He pleaded guilty today 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. Hose was never charged with kidnapping.
Hose's attorney, Jim Ecker, said he is pleased with the outcome for his mentally ill client. The judge left the opportunity for Hose to receive mental health treatment in prison, he said.
"He has suicidal tendencies, and he's at high risk for that," Ecker said.
Hose was charged with several sex crimes related to the disappearance and alleged abuse of Tanya Kach, a runaway who was 14 when she vanished Feb. 10, 1996.
The trial was originally set to begin in February of this year, but Hose tried to kill himself the day before it began. It was delayed again in May because Hose was being treated at a mental hospital.
Kach was believed to be missing for 10 years, but she never left her hometown of McKeesport, Pa. Instead, she later told police, she was hidden on the second floor of the house Hose shared with his parents -- only a few miles from her father's house.
Now 25, Kach last year told a local deli owner that she was being held captive by Hose.
After she was found, she told police that she met Hose when she was an eighth-grader at Cornell Intermediate School, where Hose worked as security guard.
Prosecutors say Hose enticed Kach to run away from home and then held her against her will in a second-floor room of the house he shared with his parents, where she was forced to use a bucket as a toilet and to keep a journal of her sexual encounters with Hose.
Hose decided about a month ago to enter a guilty plea at trial, according to Ecker.
Ecker said Judith Sokol, 58, a hairdresser who prosecutors say changed Kach's appearance so she wouldn't be noticed, also pleaded guilty to charges of statutory sexual assault, involuntary deviate sexual intercourse, indecent assault and corruption of a minor. Prosecutors say she allowed Kach and Hose to have sex in her house.
Joe Sparico, the owner of JJ's Deli Mart and the person in whom Kach confided after she had been visiting the deli for months during the time Hose let her out of the house, told ABC News he is happy Kach will not have to endure the stress of a trial.
"I feel completely ecstatic," he said. "I'm just so happy for her that his is all over."
Sparico and Kach have remained close ever since the day she confided in him, and he has said that Kach is like a daughter to him.
Sparico said he wished Hose, who Ecker said could get credit for time already spent in jail, had been sentenced to a longer mandatory sentence.
"The length of time that the girl spent there, you know, really and truthfully, I think he should have gotten a lot more time than that," Sparico said.
He said he did not think it was fair for Hose to spend less time in jail than Kach spent in captivity.