Three have been charged in a bizarre case in Pennsylvania involving the sex abuse of a minor and the “gifting” of a child to an older man. The complicated case covers at least 4 years and over 100 miles
It all began with a phone call from a neighbor and the discovery of 12 girls inside the home of 51-year-old Lee Kaplan in Bucks County, Pennsylvania (just west of Philadelphia). None of the girls were enrolled in local schools, and none had birth certificates.
The neighbor, Jen Betz, called police after noticing the girls exhibiting strange behavior:
“I just wasn't going to let go. I saw a couple girls last week standing in the driveway. They just looked unhappy and sad ... and I've been telling my husband for years something isn't right, something isn't right...”
The girls were “rarely let outside” and didn't go to school, according to CNN's report. One of Kaplan's neighbors, Anthony Zampirri, told the Daily Beast he filed a police report against Kaplan in 2013 after seeing as many as four girls dressed in Amish clothing in the window of Kaplan's home. Zampirri had grown suspicious after “news broke of the Ariel Castro kidnapping case in Cleveland.”
Authorities traced the oldest girl, 18 - who had an infant and a three-year-old of her own - to a couple 100 miles away in Lancaster, PA, who are believed to be her real parents.
Daniel and Savilla Stoltzfus, according to police, “gifted” their then 14-year-old daughter to Kaplan to show their gratitude when he saved their farm from foreclosure. They believed, based on “something they read on the internet,” that it was legal to do so.
The Stoltzfus' were reportedly financially ruined after leaving the Amish church.
Police also reported that at least the 18-year-old had been sexually abused over a long period of time, an assessment that is consistent with the fact that her oldest child was conceived when she was just 14.
All three were charged in Bucks County:
Kaplan faces charges of statutory sexual assault, corruption of minors, aggravated indecent assault, indecent assault and unlawful contact with a minor.
Daniel and Savilla Stoltzfus of Quarryville, are charged with endangering the welfare of children. Daniel Stoltzfus also faces charges of criminal conspiracy and statutory sexual assault.