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March 22, 2013 at 1:18 PM

Tacoma man pleads guilty in ‘bondage room’ torture case

In the midst of jury selection for his three-week trial in King County Superior Court, John Joseph Hauff Jr. pleaded guilty Thursday afternoon in the rape and torture of a 24-year-old woman he picked up on Aurora Avenue in Seattle and took home to what police called a “bondage room” in northeast Tacoma in April 2011.

Hauff, now 68, was to stand trial on first-degree rape, first-degree kidnapping and second-degree assault charges, according to court records. Instead, he pleaded guilty to second-degree rape and unlawful imprisonment with sexual motivation, said Dan Donohoe, a spokesman for King County Prosecutor Dan Satterberg.

Hauff, who is to be sentenced March 29, faces a 10-year prison term, but because he has pleaded guilty to two sex crimes, he also faces the potential of an indeterminate sentence of up to life in prison, Donohoe said.

Hauff picked up the woman who was working as a prostitute in the 8200 block of Aurora Avenue North on April 2, 2011, and offered her $100 to allow him to tie her wrists to his bedposts, according to charging documents. The woman agreed, but she became worried for her safety and texted Hauff’s license plate number to a friend, asking that he contact police if he didn’t hear from the woman by midnight, the charges say.

On the drive to Tacoma, Hauff pulled over in Federal Way, bound the woman’s hands and blindfolded her, saying he didn’t want her to see where he lived, according to the charges. Once arriving at a remote, sprawling property in northeast Tacoma, Hauff led the woman inside his mobile home, where he had constructed a “bondage room,” charges say. As soon as he escorted the woman into the room, he “quickly put a chain around the victim’s neck and padlocked it,” the papers say.

When she asked Hauff if he was going to hurt her, he said, “Yes.” She then asked if he was going to kill her and he stated, “We’ll see,” according to charging papers.

Hauff then tortured the woman for eight hours.

The woman, fearing “she would be killed and buried somewhere in his yard,” told Hauff about the text message she had sent, charging papers say.

After viewing the text on her cellphone, Hauff gave the woman another $100, drove her back to Seattle and asked her not to contact police, the papers say.

The woman reported the incident to Seattle police, who found the bondage room, with 8-inch-thick walls, and “recovered syringes, belts, paddles, sexual devices, locks, ropes, chains, tubing and two devices that appear to be designed to administer electricity to the human body,” charging papers say.

Tacoma police and search-and-rescue teams later searched Hauff’s property with cadaver dogs, but found no evidence of bodies buried there, court records show.

Comments | More in The Blotter | Topics: prostitution, rape, unlawful imprisonment


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