Pennsylvania Man Allegedly Found with 12 Girls in Home Will Stand Trial, Judge Rules
Lee Kaplan and Daniel and Savilla Stoltzfus have been ordered to stand trial by a Bucks County judge.
A Pennsylvania judge ruled Tuesday that Lee Kaplan, the Festerville man arrested in June after police allegedly rescued 12 girls from his home, will stand trial for sexual assault and related charges, PEOPLE confirms.
Bucks County Assistant District Attorney Kate Kohler tells PEOPLE that the parents of many of the 12 girls, who ranged in age from 6 months to 18 years old, will also stand trial. The girls’ father, Daniel Stoltzfus, was charged with conspiracy to commit statutory sexual assault and child endangerment. Their mother, Savilla Stoltzfus, was charged with endangering the welfare of a child. When Kaplan, 51, was arrested, Savilla Stoltzfus was also living in Kaplan’s home.
According to authorities, the Stoltzfuses allegedly “gifted” their then 14-year-old daughter, now 18, to Kaplan in exchange for financial help. Authorities allege Kaplan impregnated the girl and that she had two children by him: a six-month-old and a 3-year-old.
Nine of the 12 girls living in the home were sisters of the 18-year-old; the remaining three were the 18-year-old and her two daughters, authorities allege.
Kaplan is only charged with sex crimes relating to the now 18-year-old, but police are investigating whether Kaplan abused the other girls in the home, Bucks County District Attorney David Heckler previously told PEOPLE.
The 18-year-old, whose name has not been made public, testified at Tuesday’s hearing that she and her nine sisters were made to live in the home.
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Mother’s Attorney: Statutory Rape Case Hard to Prove Because Government Doesn’t Know Girl’s Age
Savilla Stoltzfus’s attorney, William Craig Penglase, tells PEOPLE his client is Amish, and that a sex crime case against her will be difficult to prove because the government “has no idea how old the young girl in question actually is.”
“No birth records of her, no birth certificate,” says Penglase. “So in a statutory rape case where age of the victim is the most important factor, the government apparently has no idea how old she is. The only information [they have] is what the child has told them.”
Penglase says that the Stoltzfuses promised Kaplan their daughter’s hand in marriage, but added, “that happens in cultures all over the world.”
Penglase adds, “Apparently Mr. Kaplan, the other gentleman involved, took advantage of that plan. They expected a wedding. The plan was for them to get acquainted and see if they would hit it off and eventually matrimony.”
Prosecutor: Stoltzfuses Became Business Partners with Kaplan After Leaving Amish Community
In a previous interview, Heckler told PEOPLE that when authorities went Kaplan’s home in 2014 after a neighbor had called to complain that he was allegedly burning garbage in his yard, Kaplan told them he was watching the girls as a favor to his business associate.
Daniel Stoltzfus owned a metal fabrication business but lost his company and home in 2009 due to foreclosure, Heckler said, after which Stoltzfus and Kaplan met at an auction involving metal fabricating equipment. According to Kaplan’s arrest affidavit, which was obtained by PEOPLE, Daniel Stoltzfus “gifted” his then 14-year-old daughter to Kaplan “in thanks for helping his family out of financial ruin.”
Heckler and Penglase both said Stoltzfus was Amish but that at the time of his relationship with Kaplan, he had left the Amish community.
Daniel Stoltzfus and Kaplan are being held on $1 million bond while Savilla Stoltfus is being held on $250,000.
Daniel Stoltzfus’ attorney, Tim Barton, did not return PEOPLE’s calls for comment. Kaplan’s attorney, Ryan Hyde, declined comment to PEOPLE.
None of the three defendants have entered pleas.