Man convicted of sexually abusing girls "gifted" to him

DOYLESTOWN, Pa. -- A man has been convicted of sexually assaulting six girls in the same Pennsylvania family, fathering two children by one of them.

Jurors in Bucks County convicted 52-year-old Lee Kaplan on all 17 counts of rape of a child, statutory sexual assault and other offenses. The conviction came a year after a neighbor's tip prompted authorities to search his Feasterville home.  

Police arrested Kaplan at the home, about 20 miles northeast of Philadelphia, in June 2016 after receiving a complaint about the health and safety of numerous children. When police responded, they discovered 11 girls living there. Kaplan allegedly admitted to police that he fathered the two youngest children – a 3-year-old and a 10-month-old – with the oldest girl, who was 18, according to CBS Philly.

The girls were the daughters of a Lancaster County couple who had broken away from the Amish community, investigators later said. Police say the girls' father told them he and his wife "gifted" one of their daughters to Kaplan after he financially helped the couple.

When the family was evicted from their Kirkwood home in 2009, the two older girls were sent to live with Kaplan, the girls' mother testified. The mother said the couple had promised Kaplan that their second-oldest daughter, then 9, would be his wife when she was older, according to Lancaster Online.

Kaplan eventually made it clear he would take all six of the oldest girls as "wives," though the parents never specifically agreed to it, the mother testified, according to Philly.com.

The 43-year-old mother said that she and her family viewed Kaplan as a prophet. The mother said when she saw Kaplan taking her daughters to bed, she believed he was teaching them how to live in the outside world and that it was meant to be, reports Philly.com.

"I always trusted him that whatever goes on is a good thing," the mother said.

Several of the girls also testified, saying they considered themselves to be Kaplan's "wives." The mother testified she, too, eventually lived with Kaplan and considered herself his wife.

Deputy District Attorney Kate Kohler argued that Kaplan "brainwashed" the family, seeking "power, manipulation and control."

"Six children became his victims. Six children became his sex toys," Kohler said Wednesday.

His defense said Kaplan was married to the oldest girl in the family's eyes and that he didn't abuse the younger children.

A sentencing date hasn't been set. The parents of the six girls are awaiting sentencing on child endangerment convictions.

© 2017 CBS Interactive Inc. All Rights Reserved.


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