Lee Kaplan, 51, was arrested on Thursday after police discovered that he had fathered two children with an 18-year-old girl living in his Bucks County, Pennsylvania home.
The oldest victim told police she is the mother of a three-year-old and a six-month-old, both fathered by Kaplan.
The teen’s father, Daniel Stoltzfus, 43, told investigators he and his wife Savilla, 42, “gifted” their daughter to Kaplan about four years ago after researching the legality on the Internet. The girl was pregnant with the first child at age 14, the criminal complaint said.
Neighbor Bob Greenfield told the Associated Press that Kaplan seemed “weird” and that he now wishes he had also had called authorities.
The kids in question ranged in six-months old to 18-years-old in age.
Saturday police converged on that man’s home, a day after his arrest on a number of felony counts.
Police told the Inquirer that the girls have been removed from the property and put into child-welfare care.
Kaplan has been charged with statutory sexual assault and aggravated indecent assault, while the Soltzfuses have been charged with child endangerment.
“It seemed like there were different girls there all the time, but I just thought I wasn’t paying attention”, Rihl said.
For others in a similar situation, she said, “If something looks suspicious or you feel something looks odd or unusual or you’re concerned about it, you should always make a report [to a county agency or child abuse hotline] so it can be looked into”. “That’s what made me call, I’ve been telling my husband for years ‘Something isn’t right, something isn’t right’”. He now faces charges including statutory sexual assault.
Elizabethtown College professor Donald Krabill, an expert on the Amish, said the couple was ex-communicated by the church in 2003. However, Krimmel said it appeared the couple had been living with Kaplan, although it was unclear for how long.
“Right now we’re coordinating with authorities in Lancaster County to interview these children in a safe environment”, Krimmel said.
That’s when the Stoltzfus family claims it cut ties with the faith. But police said the concerns were vague, not specifically “child-abuse calls”, and didn’t justify search warrants until authorities learned Kaplan had impregnated one of the girls twice. “I don’t know if they still use a horse and buggy or not, but none of this, in any way, reflects traditional Amish practices”.
NBC10.com is not identifying the parents, who also are in custody and being held on $1 million bail.
Neighbor Jen Betz said she had contacted authorities “multiple times” about her suspicions about what was going on at Kaplan’s home. Authorities were trying to determine the identity of the other nine girls in the house, including the possibility that all the girls were related.
At some point during this period, police say Kaplan intervened, saving the Stoltzfuses from financial ruin.