Southeastern PA

Jury finds Lee Kaplan guilty on all counts

Jury finds Lee Kaplan guilty on all...

DOYLESTOWN, Pa. - The man accused of sexually assaulting girls "gifted" to him was found guilty Tuesday.

A jury found Lee Kaplan, 52, guilty on all 17 counts of child sex assault, including rape of a child and involuntary deviant sex assault.

"I think he was brought to justice today and I'm very happy. I hope members of the jury went home today feeling a sense of satisfaction," said prosecutor Kate Kohler of the Bucks County DA's office.

Jurors deliberated for about 10 hours total Monday afternoon and Tuesday morning.

The prosecution said Kaplan started abusing children when they were as young as eight years old, even fathering two children with the oldest daughter. It happened over an eight-year span

The girls' biological mother, Savilla Stoltzfus, testified she and her girls were "gifted" to Kaplan as wives by Stoltzfus' husband, Daniel, after Kaplan helped them out financially.

The defense said he was taken advantage of by an opportunistic family.

"I do believe he is innocent of some of things he's accused of him," said defense attorney Ryan Hyde.

Hyde said the DA's office did poor investigative work and five of the girls were coahced on what to say. He says despite the verdict, the case isn't over.

"I know there are issues that an appellate court should see. I think there was some unique pre-trial publicity with the issues in this case," he said.

Nineteen witnesses testified in the trial that started May 31.

When Kaplan was first arrested in June 2016, he was only charged crimes related to the oldest daughter.

The victims' older brother came forward later with letters written by the girls' mother to their father that said the girls were having sex with Kaplan, as was the mother.

Kaplan could spend the rest of his life behind bars; some counts carry a 20-40 year sentence.

A sentencing date has not been set. The judge revoked Kaplan's bail and delayed sentencing until the Pennsylvania Sexual Offenders Assessment Board can evaluate Kaplan and recommend whether he should be declared a sexually violent predator, according to the DA's office.

The victims' parents, Savilla and Daniel Stoltzfus, a former Amish couple from Lancaster County, pleaded guilty to child endangerment and are waiting to be sentenced.

The girls are currently together in foster care.

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