A Pennsylvania couple has been charged with child endangerment after police found that they had given their daughter away to a friend in order to repay him for his financial help, Refinery29 reports.
The father, Daniel Stoltzfus, claims in an affidavit that he had given his daughter away four years ago, when she was just 14, to 51-year-old friend Lee Kaplan. Stoltzfus also said that he believed that what he had done was in fact legal, according to internet research he had done on the subject, though he did not reveal what sources or information led him to draw that conclusion.
According to Cosmopolitan, Kaplan has been arrested and charged with sexual assault after police found 12 females between the ages of six months and 18 years living in his house. Kaplan claims that two of the children are his that he fathered with the 18-year-old woman, leading police to believe that he had assaulted and abused her for years. Court documents for this case identify the victim only as “K.S.” in order to protect her identity.
Bucks County District Attorney David Heckler was able to offer the Associated Press more insight into the case, saying that Kaplan helped the Stoltzfus family save their farm by offering them financial assistance "out of the blue." However, Heckler also stated that the Stoltzfus family seemed to be currently living with Kaplan.
Stoltzfus claims that the other nine children found in Kaplan’s home belong to him and his wife, but that he has no birth certificates or any other form of documentation to prove it. However, the lack of documentation may be explained by the family saying that they're Amish.
Police responded to complaints from a neighbor, Jen Betz, after she contacted authorities numerous times about seeing “this older, significantly older man,” and many small children all in “blue dresses” who barely came out of the house. “I knew something wasn’t right,” she told CNN.
According to the complaint brought against the Stoltzfuses, they also gave away another daughter, identified only as “T.S.", to Kaplan, though when this happened is not specified.
Stoltzfus and his wife, Savilla, have both been charged with child endangerment, while the former has also been charged with criminal conspiracy. Kaplan has been charged with statutory sexual assault and aggravated indecent assault. Both the victim's parents and Kaplan are being held in Bucks County Jail on $1 million bail with nothing posted so far. Police are still currently conducting interviews with all of the children while they remain in protective custody.