Police arrested a man for statutory sexual assault after discovering 12 young girls living in his Feasterville, Pennsylvania, house on Thursday. Their ages range from six months to 18 years.
Lee Kaplan, 51, also faces charges of aggravated indecent assault, indecent assault, corruption of minors and unlawful contact with a minor, according to an affidavit.
The 18-year-old survivor told police that she and Kaplan had two children together. Kaplan said he had fathered two children — the six-month-old and a 3-year-old.
The young woman’s father, 43-year-old Daniel Stoltzfus, told police that when his daughter was 14, he had “gifted” her to Kaplan as thanks for financial assistance. Bucks County District Attorney David Heckler said the couple claimed Kaplan saved them from losing their farm, the Associated Press reported. Stoltzfus told officers that after researching online, he believed the transaction was legal.
Police brought charges against Stoltzfus and his wife Savilla Stoltzfus, 42. The Philadelphia Inquirer reported that the Stoltzfuses were born Amish, but more recently renounced the tradition following disagreements with community elders.
While the affidavit lists an address for the couple in Quarryville, Lancaster County, they appeared to be living with Kaplan in his Feasterville residence, Lower Southampton Police Lt. Ted Krimmel said. Daniel Stoltzfus faces charges of conspiracy to commit statutory sexual assault, and both he and his wife are charged with endangering the welfare of children.
Although the Stoltzfuses were unable to produce birth certificates or Social Security cards, the couple said the other nine children living in the house were theirs.
Neighbors claimed they rarely saw the girls outside, and they apparently did not attend school, CBS reported.
Jen Bets, a neighbor who called authorities and prompted the investigation, told a local news station that the girls looked sad every time she saw them, and that their relationship with Kaplan seemed strange. The 18-year-old “was too young to be the wife, too old to be holding his hand,” Bets said.
The children are now in protective custody.
All three charged in this case are being held on $1 million bail, with a preliminary hearing scheduled for Aug. 2.