Arrested: Lee Kaplan, 51, took the daughter, 14, of Daniel and Savilla Stoltzfus in 2012 in exchange for saving their farm, police said. He is alleged to have impregnated her twice
An Amish Pennsylvania couple who say they gifted their 14-year-old daughter to a man who helped save their farm have been arrested along with the man in question, court papers say.
Daniel Stoltzfus, 43, and his wife Savilla Stoltzfus, 42, gave their daughter, who is not being named, to 51-year-old Feasterville man Lee Kaplan in 2012, court papers said. They then apparently moved in with him.
All three were arrested Thursday after child welfare workers discovered that Kaplan’s home housed 11 other girls aged between six month and 18 years, two of whom he had fathered with the couple’s daughter, CBS Pennsylvania reported.
Officials were called to Kaplan’s home on the 400 block of Old Street Road after a neighbor complained about child abuse in the house, CBS said.
Inside, officers found Kaplan and all 12 girls. The couple, whose given address is 75 miles away in Quarryville, Lancaster County, were apparently living there too, a police officer said.
However, it’s not known how long they had been living there, why they moved in or what had happened to their own home in the meantime.
The Stoltzfuses told police they were going to lose their farm until Kaplan ‘came out of the blue and saved them from financial ruin’ around four years ago, said Bucks County District Attorney David Heckler.
In return, the couple gave Kaplan their daughter, who was then 14, an affidavit said.
Daniel Stoltzfus said that he thought the transaction was legal after researching online, according to the affadavit.
Kaplan impregnated the 14-year-old almost immediately after she entered his home, according to court papers, and again when she was 17 years-old.
The girl is now 18, police said, and her three-year-old and six-month-old children were living in Kaplan’s house. According to the criminal complaint, Savilla Stoltzfus was aware that Kaplan was having sex with her daughter.
Parents: Daniel (left), 43, and Savilla Stoltzfus (right), 42, believed the trade was legal because of something they read on the internet, police said. They and their nine other daughters moved in with Kaplan at a later date
The couple claimed the other nine children belonged to them, Lower Southampton Police Lt. John Krimmel said – although no social security cards or birth certificates could be found to confirm this.
He told CBS: ‘Right now we’re working on getting an expert on Amish culture to help us conduct interviews on the rest of these children.’
Jen Bets, the neighbor who made the call to child services, told NBC Philadelphia that there were ‘signs’ something was wrong in the house.
‘(She was) too young to be the wife, too old to be holding his hand,’ said Bets, who had seen Kaplan walking down the street with girls, sometimes holding hands with one of them.
‘I just want them to get help and get back and be happy,’ she said. ‘They’re so sad and fearful every time I see them. That’s what made me call.’
She added that the girls often seemed ‘fearful’ and would run back to the house whenever ‘the male’ who lived there went to the door. Police said they did not go to school.
Investigators are still piecing together what exactly happened, Bucks County District Attorney David Heckler said, including how Kaplan and the couple met each other.
Kaplan is charged with ten counts of various sexual offenses, eight of them felonies, including statutory rape and aggravated indecent assault.
Daniel Stoltzfus is charged with conspiracy to commit statutory sexual assault. Both he and Savilla Stoltzfus are also charged with endangering the welfare of children.
They are each being held on $1million bail, and all three will have a preliminary hearing on August 2.
Home: This is the home where Kaplan and theSoltzfuses lived until suspicious neighbors alerted authorities. Police are trying to figure out exactly what happened. All three have been arrested on various charges