A man claiming to be a prophet of God has been convicted on 17 counts of child sex abuse for molesting and then “marrying” six sisters, five of whom are still underage.
Lee Kaplan, who convinced a destitute Amish family he was speaking for God to get close to them, abused the sisters for a decade. Their parents “gifted” one of their daughters when she was about seven, and that process continued over time.
Kaplan met the girls’ father, Daniel Stoltzfus, at an auction in 2002:
The family wanted to leave the Amish faith and needed money, and Kaplan, who cast himself as a prophet of God and offered financial help, became close to them. He began spending nights at their Lancaster County house, where he first invited the two oldest girls — then 7 and 8 — to sleep in his bed, where he fondled and kissed them.
By 2016, not only the two oldest but their seven younger sisters had moved in with Kaplan, along with their mother, who herself was given to Kaplan as a wife by her own husband. And the oldest Stoltzfus girl had had two children by Kaplan. Abuse began for each of them between ages 7 and 8, they said.
The sisters testified against Kaplan, who still maintains his innocence, saying he abused them for years and didn’t provide them with toothbrushes, soap, or beds. They said they still love him, though — a classic case of Stockholm Syndrome.
The second-oldest victim said living in Kaplan’s house “worked out for everybody.”
“We knew if it did get out that it would be ended… I was very happy where we were.”
If you ask Kaplan (and probably most of his victims), this is a clear-cut case of the government encroaching on their religion. If you look at it rationally, however, it was a successful liberation of a family from constant psychological and sexual abuse… even if they don’t know it yet.
When asked about the sisters’ testimonies that they still love Kaplan as their husband, Deputy District Attorney Kate Kohler said only, “I pray for them.”
I humbly suggest that we not turn to faith and prayer, which is what made this family susceptible to Kaplan’s lies and gave him the vehicle he needed to take advantage of them. Instead, I hope these kids get the counseling they really need and deserve.
(Screenshot via YouTube)