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Parents Enter Pleas in Child "Gifting" Sex Assault Case

April 6, 2017

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Contact: Larry King, 215.348.6298, lrking@buckscounty.org

Savilla Stoltzfus Daniel Stoltzfus Lee Kaplan
      Savilla Stoltzfus            Daniel Stoltzfus                 Lee Kaplan

The parents of six children alleged to have been sexually assaulted by a Bucks County man in his Feasterville home entered pleas to felony child endangerment charges this morning in Bucks County Common Pleas Court.

Daniel and Savilla Stoltzfus entered the pleas before a hearing on pretrial motions began in the child-rape prosecution of Lee Kaplan, 52. That hearing continued for the balance of the day.

Savilla Stoltzfus, 43, pleaded guilty to one count of endangering the welfare of children, a felony of the third degree. Daniel Stoltzfus, 44, pleaded no contest to the same charge.

President Judge Jeffrey L. Finley accepted both pleas and deferred sentencing until the time of Kaplan's trial. The crimes are punishable by up to seven years in prison and a fine of $15,000, although sentencing guidelines call for less severe punishments.

Prosecutors contend that Kaplan befriended the then-Amish family in Lancaster County, supported them financially and steered them away from the Amish way of life. In return, it is alleged, the Stoltzfuses "gifted" Kaplan some of their nine daughters, who went to live with him in the house where the assaults allegedly occurred. 

In response to questions from Deputy District Attorney Kate Kohler, Daniel Stoltzfus testified that he also also gave his wife, Savilla, to Kaplan. Kaplan allegedly took Savilla Stoltzfus as his wife in hopes of "strengthening" the Stoltzfus bloodlines.

Kaplan also is accused of taking the Stoltzfuses' eldest daughter, 14 at the time, as his wife. He raped her repeatedly over a series of years, prosecutors allege, causing her to give birth to two children.

In entering their pleas, the Stoltzfuses acknowledged that they knew Kaplan was having sex with their eldest daughter while she was still a minor.

In all, 11 Stoltzfus or Kaplan offspring, all female, were living in the Kaplan home with Kaplan and Savilla Stoltzfus last summer, when Lower Southampton police and Bucks County Children and Youth workers arrived to check on their welfare. 

Kaplan is scheduled for trial May 30 on charges involving six alleged victims, including rape of a child, statutory sexual assault, involuntary deviate sexual intercourse and indecent assault. The girls ranged in age from 6 to 14 when the alleged assaults began.

Finley denied defense motions to allow Kaplan's release on nominal bail, to suppress statements made by Kaplan to police, to disallow testimony from the two youngest alleged victims and to suppress DNA evidence.

The judge took under advisement a motion that the trial be moved out of Bucks County or that a jury be selected from outside the county because of prejudicial pretrial publicity. Finley said he expected to rule on that matter by early next week.    

Approved for release by Gregg D. Shore, First Assistant District Attorney.

Office of the District Attorney
Bucks County Justice Center
100 N. Main Street
Doylestown, PA 18901 
Phone: 215-348-6344 
Fax: 215-348-6299

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