REAL LIFE

Parents sentenced to prison after ‘gifting’ daughter to ‘cult’ leader

The man sexually assaulted 6 of their daughters.
Bucks County Sheriffs Dept.

A judge has sentenced two parents to time behind bars after finding them guilty of handing their 14-year-old daughter over to a ‘cult-like’ leader as thanks for getting them out of financial trouble.

Pennsylvania judge, Judge Jeffrey L. Finley, heard the case that Daniel and Savilla  Stoltzfus had ‘gifted’ their eldest daughter to Lee Donald Kaplan, 52, who later sexually assaulted her and five of her sisters.

Kaplan was convicted in June of 17 sexual offenses after posing as a prophet to the Stoltzfus family, who lived in an Amish community in Pennsylvania.

He is yet to be sentenced but Bucks County Prosecutor, Kate Kohler, said of a possible life prison sentence: ‘I can tell you that’s where he belongs.’

Kaplan lived with the Stoltzfus family for three to four years during which time Daniel and Savilla Stoltzfus allowed him access to their nine daughters, aged between 6 and 18.  

Authorities believe six of the girls were sexually assaulted by Kaplan, the eldest gave birth to two of his children.

Savilla says she knew about the sexual contact between Kaplan and her daughters but considered ‘it could be a good thing.’

The judge found the parents guilty of child endangerment and sentenced them to up to 7 years each in prison – the maximum allowable sentence for the crime.

Judge Finley described the crimes as ‘unimaginable’ and lamented not being able to hand down a harsher sentence.

Kaplan will be sentenced in September.

Related stories