It all began with a kiss under the stairwell of her high school. 14 year old Tanya Kach, then in eighth grade, was apparently infatuated with Tom Hose, the 39 year old security guard. She would skip class and meet him under the stairwell for stolen kisses. Hose convinced her that no one loved her, no one cared for her or would miss her if she were gone. He suggested that she run away and come and stay with him, which she did. Once Hose brought her to his home, a home he shared with his parents, he would not allow her to leave and held her captive in his second story bedroom.
She was forced to have sex with him, and told to write down the details of their physical encounters, which he would then share with his friends, bragging of his conquests with the teen. She used a bucket for a toilet, and was only allowed to shower twice a week, when Hose's parents had gone to sleep. She said that she watched TV with headphones, and memorized which floorboards squeaked so as not to make any noise and be detected by Hose's parents. She also was forced to hide in his closet on the rare occasions that they entered his room.
Food was delivered by Hose to Tanya and consisted mainly of peanut butter and jelly sandwiches.
Eventually she was allowed to leave his home, but by this time the psychological effects of confinement had been firmly implanted in her mind. Although she was free to visit a local deli and interact with people, she still considered herself a captive. She even visited church with Hose, and used the name Nikki Allen, being introduced as Hose's girlfriend.
Although she was being held captive only a few miles from her father's McKeesport, Pennsylvania home, she never attempted to escape.
"They're brainwashed into believing they can't [escape], or if they do they will be killed or someone they love will be killed," DeLong said of victims who remain with their captors when escape is physically possible. "They say all kinds of things to trick and fool the victim into believing they have no choice and the best thing is to stay."
A hairdresser, Judith Sokol, 58, whom was also charged in the case, had assisted Hose in disguising Tanya's identity by coloring her hair on a regular basis. She had also allowed the two to have sexual intercourse at her house.
In March of 2006 Tanya told her good friend, Joe Sparico, the owner of JJ's Deli Mart, which she had been visiting for 5 months, that she was being held captive.
When Kach approached him with her story, Sparico said he wasn't sure it was true. So he turned to his son, a former McKeesport police officer, for help.
"He says, 'Hey, Dad, don't tell me her last name's Kach,'" Sparico said. "He turned white as a ghost. He couldn't believe it. They really thought this girl was dead."
The trial, which was originally set to begin in February, but was delayed due to Hose's attempted suicide and subsequent confinement in a mental hospital, was concluded today.
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. Hose was never charged with kidnapping.
He was sentenced to 15 years, but his attorney told an ABC reporter that he could be out in as little as 5 years. The judge also made provisions for Hose to receive psychiatric care while incarcerated.
Hose's attorney, Jim Ecker, said he is pleased with the outcome for his mentally ill client.
"He has suicidal tendencies, and he's at high risk for that," Ecker said.
As for Tanya, now 25 years old, she is getting on with her life. Since obtaining her freedom, she has obtained her GED, gotten a driver's license, and is now taking a few college courses.
Her parents, now divorced, are caring for their daughter, and trying to make up for lost time.
Lawrence Fisher, Kach's lawyer in a civil case against Hose and the city of McKeesport stated that "a lot of people would be bitter and whatnot, but she's just a very pleasant girl. She's very nice, very helpful."
Tanya just wants to lead a normal life.
"This girl, all she wants is her mother and her father," he said. "Just her family, that's it."