(JTA) — A Pennyslvania man was charged with the sexual assault of a teeange girl who was “gifted” to him by her ex-Amish parents. The parents’ relationship with the “individual of the Jewish faith” was opposed by Amish leaders, according to a lawsuit.
Police found 12 girls aged 6 months to 18 years in the Lower Southampton home of Lee Kaplan, 51, during a raid Thursday prompted by a tip from a neighbor, according to philly.com.
The 18-year-old had been given to Kaplan by her parents, Daniel and Savilla Stoltzfus, when she was 14 and reportedly is the mother with Kaplan of two of the girls: the 6-month-old and a 3-year-old. The other girls living with Kaplan in the home some 20 miles from Philadelphia are believed to be the oldest girl’s sisters, the website reported.
On Friday, Bucks County officials still were trying to determine how the other nine children came to be living with Kaplan.
Kaplan is being held on $1 million bail and is charged with sexually assaulting the teen. It is not known if he had sexual relations with any of the other girls.
The girl’s father told police he gave his daughter to Kaplan in gratitude after Kaplan helped the family financially. He said he thought it was legal, The Associated Press reported.
The Stoltzfuses also are being held on $1 million bail. He is charged with conspiracy of statutory sexual assault and children endangerment; she is charged with endangering the welfare of a child.
The couple were Amish, but renounced it amid a years-long fight with community elders, according to a federal lawsuit they filed in 2009 against the church. They said the sect leaders, among other things, disapproved of their doing business “with an individual of the Jewish faith named Lee Kaplan,” according to the lawsuit. The lawsuit was dismissed several months later.
The children found in Kaplan’s home reportedly are together in protective custody.