A Lower Southampton, Pennsylvania, man faces charges of sexual assault against an underage girl who was allegedly gifted to him by her parents.
The former Amish couple were experiencing a financial hardship and went to 52-year-old Lee Kaplan for help, police said, the Bucks County Courier Times reports. They then gave him their 14-year-old daughter.
The girl, now 18, told police that Kaplan is the father of her two children, ages 6 months and 3 years.
When police were called to Kaplan’s home because of a complaint made by neighbor Jen Bets about the health and welfare of the children living there, they found 12 girls inside, ranging in age from 6 months to 18 years old.
The two children Kaplan fathered with the girl were present at the property.
“It’s never the wrong time to do the right thing,” Bets told WCAU. “There were signs.”
"(She was) too young to be the wife, too old to be holding his hand," Bets said of seeing Kaplan walking down the street with the girls.
All of the underage children have been placed in protective custody.
"The conditions in the house were fine," Lower Southampton Detective Sgt. Shane Hearn said, according to the Courier Times. "They were not undernourished. Kaplan has a farm there and chickens running all over the place. I guess they were living off the land."
Bets believes the police took too long to respond to her requests to visit Kaplan’s home.
"It took too long," she said, WCAU reports. “I just want them to get help and get back and be happy. They're so sad and fearful every time I see them. That's what made me call."
Kaplan is charged with statutory sexual assault, aggravated indecent assault, indecent assault on a person younger than 16, corruption of minors, and contact with a minor involving sexual offenses, according to the Bucks County Courier Times. He is being held at Bucks County prison in lieu of 10 percent of $1 million bail.
"I wanted (Kaplan) off the street despite the fact he told me he loved the children," Lower Southampton district judge John Waltman said.
The girl’s parents, who claim all of the children living in Kaplan’s home are theirs, were arrested on child endangerment charges. Their bail is set at $1 million.
Police have not found any identifying documents for any of the girls, WCAU reports.
“We are still investigating that. Bucks County is investigating that along with other agencies to help identify their genealogy and who their parents actually are,” Lower Southampton Lt. John Krimmel said.
It is unknown how long the children were living with Kaplan.