Lee Kaplan has been arrested and will be facing trial after creating a cult with a family who gave up their children as ‘gifts’ to Kaplan, and fathering children with them, although they were minors.
Like any cult story, this one is a twisted web that goes father than the public gets to know about. Apparently, Kaplan had met Daniel Stoltzfus at an auction, where Stolzfus told Kaplan that he and his wife were formed members of the Amish faith, and used to live in an Amish village before denouncing that life style and leaving.
Kaplan capitalized on the situation and convinced the Solzfus’ that he will help them adjust and live, and did help them financially.
As a gift, Stolzfus gave Kaplan at least two of his daughters as a ‘gift’. The girls were treated as ‘wives’, and forced to bear children for Kaplan. They were all told this would “strengthen the bloodline”.
Kaplan, the Stolzfus’, and the Stolzfus’ 9 children all lived together in a house.
Now, the parents and cult leader are on trial for child endangerment.
Philly News has more:
Kaplan said it was the “will of God” that he strengthen the Stoltzfus bloodline by fathering children with them, according to prosecutors’ presentation.
He was considered a “teacher” for the family who saved them from spiritual and financial crisis, helped them leave the Amish faith, interpreted their dreams, and taught them “what it meant to be women,” according to prosecutors.
Kaplan is accused of sexually abusing six of the girls — some of whom he allegedly considered his wives — and fathering two children with the oldest.
On Thursday, he and the Stoltzfus parents appeared separately in court ahead of Kaplan’s scheduled May 30 trial. Daniel Stoltzfus pleaded no contest before Judge Jeffrey Finley in Doylestown to a charge of child endangerment. His wife, Savilla, pleaded guilty to the same charge.
Testimony at the proceedings for each of the three defendants revealed fresh details of a case that has drawn national attention.
Daniel Stoltzfus met Kaplan at an auction, and the man helped them “transition from the Amish lifestyle” while assisting them financially, according to prosecutors.
Stoltzfus then “gifted” his oldest daughter to Kaplan — a decision that Savilla Stoltzfus said she had input in but that was ultimately her husband’s choice, according to information presented by prosecutors and acknowledged to be true by both Stoltzfuses.
Some of their daughters moved into the Feasterville home, and after the eldest had her first baby by Kaplan, Savilla Stoltzfus and other daughters moved in, as agreed upon by Daniel Stoltzfus and Kaplan, Daniel Stoltzfus has confirmed.
Kaplan told police in June that that agreement was so he could have children with Savilla — though later admitting the children were actually with the oldest daughter — and “insert his bloodline, thereby strengthening the Stoltzfus bloodline,” Lower Southampton Township Detective Shane Hearn testified Thursday.
Savilla Stoltzfus said that she had a feeling Kaplan was having sexual relations with her daughters but that “she felt like it was not her business to inquire what went on in those rooms, but knew that’s what went on because Kaplan said it was God’s will,” prosecutors said.
Kaplan also would have conversations with family members that “helped define their sense of purpose as women,” Assistant District Attorney Kate Kohler said.
Savilla’s definition of a wife is to listen to and follow her husband and bear his children, Kohler said.
Kaplan maintains his innocence, said his attorney, Ryan Hyde.
“He cares a great deal about these people,” Hyde said after the proceeding. “He feels like they are his family, and he feels like they are being put through torture. … He was very upset hearing the testimony today.”
Finley denied motions to suppress from the trial the statements made by Kaplan on the day the girls were discovered and a subsequent DNA sample, to exclude testimony from the two younger sisters, and to grant Kaplan nominal bail.
The judge ruled that the two girls, now 9 and 11, are competent to testify. Hyde asked for the trial to be held in a different county or to bring in a jury from a different county, arguing Kaplan couldn’t get a fair trial in Bucks County due to publicity. Finley said he would rule on that request by next week.