April 20, 2011 in Nation/World

Prostitute attacked in torture chamber

Gene Johnson Associated Press
 
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Listen to an interview with Jeff Kappel, Seattle Police Department public information officer, courtesy of 97-3 KIRO FM in Seattle.

Contains graphic content

SEATTLE (AP) — A text message helped save a prostitute who was chained and tortured for hours — including by electrical shock — in a room with 8-inch-thick walls, chains, ropes and paddles, police said.

Authorities allege that in addition to repeatedly shocking the 24-year-old woman, John Joseph Hauff Jr. struck her with a paddle, used a catheter to force liquid into her bladder and assaulted her with a gynecological instrument.

Hauff stopped when the woman told him that she had texted his car’s license plate number to her boyfriend before entering the man’s home, and asked him to call police if she wasn’t heard from by midnight, according to a probable cause statement.

Hauff, 66, was charged Tuesday with kidnapping, rape and assault. He faces up to life in prison if convicted.

He was being held without bail, and court records showed he had not retained a lawyer by Wednesday. Detectives said he acknowledged picking up a woman in Seattle for a bondage session, and that she asked at least twice to be released. He also acknowledged shocking her, they said.

Hauff picked up the woman along a highway in North Seattle on April 2 and offered $100 to her to play a sexual role involving bondage, according to the charging documents.

The woman told investigators that his demeanor changed once she got into his car, and that when he stopped to get cigarettes for her, she texted her boyfriend with the license plate number.

She also said that she was blindfolded before she was led into Hauff’s trailer home in a remote area of Tacoma. Prosecutors described the room where she was taken as “a torture chamber.”

“Great care appears to have been invested in the room’s construction,” deputy prosecutor Sean P. O’Donnell wrote in court documents. “The walls are approximately 8 inches thick, making most sounds — such as screams — emanating from inside the room almost undetectable.”

The woman said she was padlocked around the neck, and that she asked if she was going to be killed.

“We’ll see,” Hauff responded, according to the probable cause statement.

Detectives said she was strapped down and shocked with electricity for hours, until the woman told Hauff about the text message she had sent. He initally didn’t believe her, but she told him to check her phone.

That was when he offered her an extra $100, and told her “he really didn’t hurt her that bad and it was all just a game,” according to the statement.

It wasn’t clear whether her boyfriend saw the text that night or called police. The woman said she didn’t immediately report the assault because she was scared, according to the document.

Dan Donohoe, a spokesman for the King County prosecutor’s office, said he did not believe the woman suffered lasting physical injuries.

Hauff was scheduled to be arraigned May 2.

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