Warning: This story contains graphic details that may be disturbing for some readers.
A man accused of abusing his wife and two young children for years, even shocking the youngsters with an electric dog collar, has been sentenced to 20 to 40 years after pleading guilty to more than two dozen charges.
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Joseph Myhre, 45, showed little emotion as he was sentenced Tuesday on pleas to aggravated and simple assault, unlawful restraint, endangering the welfare of children and corruption of minors.
Prosecutors in Montgomery County said he punched, kicked, choked and otherwise abused his son and his daughter over six years in their Collegeville home. They said he repeatedly struck the children with a wooden dowel or PVC pipe, shocked them with electric collars and stuck lancets under their fingernails and toenails. Prosecutors said he also fractured his wife's skull in an assault that sent her to a hospital.
Before sentencing, his wife said she and the children protected Myhre and allowed him to appear as "a loving husband and father" but were "often praying for our own deaths in hopes of escape."
She said her goal now is to help her children "regain moments of a lost childhood" after abuse that has left them with "not only physical and emotional damage but years of horrible examples that need to be unlearned."
Asked if he had anything to say, Myhre said "I have profound regret and sorrow for my actions towards my wife and children."
Common Pleas Judge Wendy Rothstein called the abuse "horrific" and praised the woman's courage.
"There is no excuse," Rothstein told Myhre. "You were supposed to protect them, not hurt them."
If you are experiencing domestic violence, you can reach out to the National Domestic Violence Hotline for help at 800-799-7233.