A Pennsylvania judge has sentenced a married couple to up to seven years in prison each for “gifting” their daughter, then nine years old, to Lee Kaplan to be his wife. Kaplan was convicted for sexually assaulting the girl and her five younger sisters.
Daniel and Savilla Stoltzfus “gifted” their daughter to Lee Donald Kaplan, 52, in 2009 because he helped them out financially after the family broke away from the Amish community, authorities said. The girl, now 18, has two children with Kaplan. She was 14 when she had her first child.
The couple had also sent their other daughters to live with Kaplan.
In June, jurors in Pennsylvania’s Bucks County convicted the 52-year-old Kaplan of sexually assaulting the six sisters.
Their mother, Savilla Stoltzfus, testified that she, too, eventually lived with Kaplan and considered herself his wife.
Police arrested Kaplan at his home in Feasterville in June 2016 after receiving a complaint about the health and safety of numerous children. In Kaplan’s house they found 11 girls, all reported to be Stoltzfus’ daughters.
The six girls ‒ now between ages 9 and 18 ‒ whom the court found Kaplan sexually assaulted, testified in June that he had sex with them and that for each, it began between the ages of 7 and 11.
The 14-year-old sister testified that Kaplan asked her if she wanted to be his wife before the first time they had sex, which occurred when she was 10.
She said she did not know what was going to happen before he had sex with her and that it hurt, but she was “glad to be his wife.”
The oldest sister “gifted” to Kaplan, now the mother of two of his children, testified that she liked the arrangement “because our parents were kind of struggling at the time, so it worked out for everybody,” she said.
The younger sisters said they had initially refused to tell detectives about sex with Kaplan, because their older sisters told them not to, according to the Philadelphia Inquirer. However, they did so in October after their mother – wearing a wire – urged them to tell the truth, the Inquirer reported.
Savilla Stoltzfus said she and her family viewed Kaplan as a prophet.
The girls’ older brother testified that, when one of his siblings questioned Kaplan’s plan to marry the second-oldest sister, Kaplan became angry and “told him not to dare question what God had put together.” That was the last time someone in the family questioned him, the brother said.
Prosecutors argued that Kaplan brainwashed the family, sought “power, manipulation and control,” and created a world in which “child rape was the norm.”
The children are now in the custody of the state.
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