Disgraced former CBS3 anchor Larry Mendte will serve six months of house arrest for his guilty plea to reading the e-mails of former co-anchor Alycia Lane and feeding the details to newspaper gossip columnists.

U.S. District Judge Mary A. McLaughlin also sentenced Mendte, 51, to three years probation, a $5,000 fine and to perform 250 hours of community service.

Before he was sentenced, Mendte told the court: "When I look back on the story of my life, I can't believe it brought me to this moment. I am ashamed."

Mendte said he was grateful that Alycia Lane was present so that he could apologize to her.

He turned to look at Lane, whose lower lip was quivering as if she was about to cry, and said: "I am also sorry that you did not believe my previous public apology was sincere."

Present in court, but silent throughout the hearing was Lane, 36, who had filed suit against Mendte contending that his jealousy over her ascending career and popularity led him to hack into her e-mail account and spread salacious details to gossip columnists that ultimately resulted in her firing.

Lane has also sued CBS3, the Daily News and columnist Dan Gross for their purported roles in spreading information leaked to them by Mendte. The Daily News is owned by Philadelphia Media Holdings L.L.C., which also publishes The Inquirer.

Although she did not speak at the sentencing, her attorney did filed a victim-impact statement on her behalf.

Mendte admitted in his guilty plea in August intentionally accessing Lane personal computer and reading e-mails 500 times.

In pleading guilty, Mendte he explained that he snooped on his one-time colleague because of a "flirtatious, unprofessional and improper" relationship with Lane. Nevertheless, federal prosecutors also shared some of what he learned with gossip columnists for tabloid newspapers including the Philadelphia Daily News and the New York Post.

Acting US Attorney Laurie Magid e-mailed a statement to reporters after the hearing.

"We live in an age in which we frequently exchange and share personal, sensitive information via email every day," said Magid. "This case and conviction are significant, not for the personalities involved but because the integrity of private, confidential Internet communication must be preserved. In this case, not only was personal and attorney-client information viewed but it was leaked to the media."

Federal guidelines had recommended a sentence of up to six months, which made Mendte eligible for a nonjail term, such as home confinement or supervised release. Defense attorney Michael A. Schwartz argued that a non-prison sentence was appropriate.

As part of the guilty plea agreement, Assistant U.S. Attorney Michael L. Levy made no recommendation on a specific sentence. In a sentencing memo filed in federal court, Levy argued that the judge could take into account the emotional harm Mendte inflicted on Lane, who was also fired by CBS3.