exposing the dark side of adoption
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Court log: West Manchester Twp. man gets 3 to 7 years in abuse case



A West Manchester Township man who'd been charged with physically and sexually abusing his six adopted children is heading to state prison.

John Henry Thomas, 54, appeared in York County Court Monday morning, where he was sentenced to 3 to seven years in prison, plus five years' probation, according to senior deputy prosecutor Christopher Moore.

Thomas pleaded no contest to felony charges of sexual assault and unlawful contact with a minor, according to court records. In exchange for his plea, all his other charges were dropped, including rape, statutory sexual assault and child endangerment, Moore has said.

Defendants who plead no contest, or nolo contendere, are not admitting guilt. Rather, they are saying they will not contest the charges against them.

Otherwise, a no-contest plea has the same effect as a guilty plea.

Wife pleaded, too: His wife, Carol Ann Thomas, 61, pleaded no contest in September to a felony count of child endangerment. In November, she was sentenced to one to two years in York County Prison, according to court records.

She was accused of knowing that her husband was abusing their children, but doing nothing to stop the abuse.

The children -- the oldest of whom is in high school -- attended their father's sentencing Monday, Moore said. Some of them spoke in court, but John Thomas declined an opportunity to speak, according to Moore.

"Those kids are among the strongest kids and victims I've ever seen," he said. "I have the utmost confidence they will be fine.


The allegations: Court documents state that one of the six children reported she was punched in the stomach until she vomited. Others said they were beaten with a tree limb, a cast-iron frying pan and a table leg, documents state.

In other instances, one child said she was forced to stand barefoot on a hot radiator, and another child was forced to drink urine, according to police, who said John Thomas also sexually abused a teenage daughter.

The children also said they were forced to go without food for days, and also forced to hit other children in the household, according to police. Some of the children had scars from the incidents, police said.

The Thomases are not allowed to have contact with the children, who remain together in one foster home and are doing well, Moore said.

John Thomas' defense attorney, Lori Yost, declined comment.

2009 Jan 6