Couple Sentenced for 'Gifting' Daughter to Man

Judge calls Pa. couple's crime 'incomprehensible'
By Newser Editors and Wire Services
Posted Jul 20, 2017 2:21 AM CDT
Couple Sentenced for Giving Teen Daughter to 'Prophet'
Savilla Stoltzfus is led to a preliminary hearing outside Bucks County Magisterial District Judge John I. Waltman's courtroom in Feasterville, Pa. last year.   (Megan Trimble)

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. "The idea, again, that an individual in any community would hand off their children into the bed of another person is just incomprehensible," Finley said, as he sentenced them following their convictions on child endangerment charges, adding that he would have given them longer prison sentences if legally allowable.

Authorities said the couple "gifted" their 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 is 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." He will be sentenced later this year. (More child sex abuse stories.)

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