Crime Library: Criminal Minds and Methods

Sex Slaves: The Psychology of Mastery

Other Captives

Tanya Nicole Kach
Tanya Nicole Kach

Tanya told deli shop owner Joe Sparico that she had disappeared ten years earlier because a man named Thomas Hose had kidnapped her and held her captive. She had known him as a security guard at her middle school in McKeesport, Pa., and court records indicate that Hose, then 38, began a relationship with the girl, even openly escorting her to class. Within a few months, she allegedly ran away from home to be with him and ultimately moved into the house where he lived with his elderly parents. Supposedly Hose engaged the services of a female friend, Judith Sokol, to cut and dye Tanya's hair to change her appearance. He then forced her to stay.

Thomas John Hose
Thomas John Hose

Authorities allege that Hose, who somehow managed to keep the girl's existence secret from his parents, repeatedly sexually assaulted her and then forced her to write down all the details so he could relive his crimes and also brag to his friends. But to believe this tale, one must accept that for each and every day and night for several years, a growing young girl was so completely quiet on the second floor of a small house (with other houses quite close by) that the couple who lived below never heard her, not even when she was being assaulted. It's likely that the full story has yet to emerge on this situation, but we can look at other cases of victims held for years to gain a better sense of what they endured.

Cameron Hooker
Cameron Hooker

"Carol" claimed to have been held captive in a small box for seven years, since 1977. A couple had picked her up when she was hitchhiking in Oregon and the man had forced her to live in this box for his sexual pleasure. He had persuaded her that he was part of an organization of slavemasters and that if she did not sign a contract agreeing to be his slave, dire things would happen to her and her family. Eventually, she received some privileges and a bit of freedom. She took advantage of it and ran away. She eventually told police, who arrested Cameron Hooker. The box, including the one in which he had locked Carol's head, became a courtroom display, and she testified against him. She described his coercion tactics to a jury, which included regular beatings and threats against her and her family. She had no way of knowing, she said, if he was lying or telling the truth, so she had eventually adjusted to her situation.

The box under the bed
The box under the bed

While the common image of a sexual slave is female, there have been males as well. Steven Stayner was kidnapped in California when he was only seven-years-old, returning home seven years later, in 1980, to his family. Little did he know as he came home from school on the day of his abduction that a convicted child molester, Kenneth Parnell, was watching him. Parnell made his move and young Steven was in his control. Parnell kept Steven in his home, forcing him to perform sexual acts, even as he told others that Steven was his son. Parnell convinced Steven that he now belonged to him, moving around the state with him several times. When Steven was only eight, Parnell forced him to have sexual intercourse repeatedly with a grown woman. Fortunately for him, Parnell eventually fixated on other boys, and when he grabbed young "Tommy," only five, Steven escaped and took Tommy with him. He went to the police, who helped both boys return to their families, and Parnell was prosecuted. Tragically, only nine years later, Steven was killed in a motorcycle accident, and what had happened to him was made into a book and television miniseries.

Kenneth Parnell in court
Kenneth Parnell in court

Steven Stayner testifies
Steven Stayner testifies

Not all captors are seeking their own gratification; some have larger ambitions.

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