Child Given Away
In this Aug. 2, 2016, file photo, Daniel Stoltzfus, left, and Lee Donald Kaplan, right, are led to a preliminary hearing outside Bucks County Magisterial District Judge John I. Waltman's courtroom in Feasterville, Pa.  Megan Trimble—AP

'It Could Be a Good Thing.' Parents 'Gifted' Young Daughter to 52-Year-Old Man

Jul 19, 2017

(DOYLESTOWN, Pa.) — A Pennsylvania judge on Wednesday sentenced a married couple to up to seven years in prison each for giving their oldest daughter to a cult-like figure who sexually assaulted the girl and her five sisters.

Bucks County Judge Jeffrey L. Finley said the actions of Daniel and Savilla Stoltzfus were unimaginable as he sentenced them following their convictions on child endangerment charges. Daniel Stoltzfus, 44, who pleaded no contest, was sentenced to 3½ to seven years. Savilla Stoltzfus, 43, who pleaded guilty, was sentenced to three to seven years.

Authorities said the couple "gifted" the oldest girl to Lee Donald Kaplan, 52, because he helped them out of financial trouble when they broke with their Amish faith. Kaplan fathered two children with the girl, the first when she was 14. She's now in her late teens.

Jurors convicted Kaplan on all 17 counts of rape of a child, statutory sexual assault and other offenses last month, a year after a neighbor's tip prompted authorities to search Kaplan's Feasterville home.

Prosecutors said Kaplan brainwashed the family, casting himself as a prophet, and created a world in which "child rape was the norm." Several girls testified they considered Kaplan to be their husband.

The girls' mother has said she knew about the sexual activity between the man and her daughters but believed "it could be a good thing." Kaplan's attorney said the family considered Kaplan married to the oldest girl and he never abused the others.

All products and services featured are based solely on editorial selection. TIME may receive compensation for some links to products and services on this website.