Southeastern PA

Man convicted in sex assault of 'gifted' girls gets 30-87 years

DOYLESTOWN, Pa. - A Bucks County man accused of having sexual contact with six underage girls will spend decades behind bars.

On Wednesday, a judged imposed a 30 to 87 year sentence against Lee Kaplan after he was convicted of 17 charges, including rape.

Somewhat symbolically, the overall sentence includes six different sentences that will run consecutively: one for each of the victims.

Prosecutors say the 52-year-old claimed to be a prophet, and preyed on a former Amish family he previously had a business relationship with.

According to investigators, Daniel and Savilla Stoltzfus "gifted" some of their daughters to Kaplan after he dug them out of financial trouble.  Both parents are serving time in prison after pleading guilty to child endangerment charges last month.

"There wasn't any tit for tat, there wasn't any exchange, he helped them out of a hard time of their lives," said Ryan Hyde, Kaplan's attorney.

Prosecutors say the girls were as young as eight when the illegal contacted started.  One of the daughters had two children with Kaplan. According to prosecutors, Kaplan wanted to "insert his blood line" into the Stoltzfus family. 

Prosecutors urged the judge to enact a stiff sentence against Kaplan, adding he'd be likely to offend again if given the opportunity.

But during the hearing, attorney Ryan Hyde pointed out Kaplan's work history, education, and contributions to the community and the family adding that the girls were fed, housed, and educated because of Kaplan.

Despite that, Hyde did not undermine the situation, saying in court that Kaplan "is a monster in what he's convicted of."

"The charges are somewhat hard to argue against. Mr. Kaplan has done some good in his life," Hyde said.

"Any quote 'good' he did for the community or these girls was for his own selfish purposes," said Bucks County prosecutor Kate Kohler.

"If there was a good intent, it was washed away by the horrific acts that you committed upon this family," said judge Jeff Finley.

Kaplan has 30 days to submit a motion to appeal his conviction. His attorney said a decision on whether or not to go that route has not been made.

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