An O'Hara man was sentenced to 26 to 52 years in prison Monday for sexually assaulting a teenage girl and holding his 7-year-old autistic son hostage during a standoff with police.
"He appears to have no remorse," said Allegheny County Common Pleas Judge Jill Rangos. "He did use a 7-year-old autistic child as a negotiating tool."
The man, John Major, 44, was convicted on charges of sexual assault, endangering the welfare of children, corruption of minors, indecent exposure, terroristic threats, reckless endangerment, resisting arrest and assault.
Major read a long statement arguing that he had committed wrongs but was wrongly accused of being violent.
"I never forced [the victim] to do anything," he said. "Yes it was wrong and I accept that, but the way this was put together was a lie."
The victim reported that she was sexually abused by Major from January 2010, when she was 14, to March 2011. After she reported the assaults and was examined at Children's Hospital, caseworkers from the Office of Children, Youth and Families went to Major's home to remove his son. Major was armed with a handgun and threatened to commit suicide.
Major then barricaded himself in the house with the boy, resulting in an eight-hour standoff with police and the deployment of a SWAT team. During the course of the standoff, he "often referred to his 7-year-old son ... as 'leverage' when speaking with police negotiators," according to the criminal complaint filed in the case.
Major eventually surrendered, and there were no injuries.
"Every day is a struggle to accomplish menial tasks without flashbacks and bad memories," the victim wrote in a statement read in court by Assistant District Attorney Laura Ditka. "I just hope I never have to face him again."
Major spoke with a restraining belt around his suit and six sheriff's deputies surrounding him. At times he raised his voice and turned to direct his comments at Ms. Ditka. At other times he cried.
"Not a day goes by that I don't wish that God would take me away," he said.neigh_north
Peter Sullivan: firstname.lastname@example.org or 412-263-1939. First Published June 12, 2012 12:00 AM