Lee Kaplan, the so-called “prophet of God” who sexually abused six young girls he claimed were his wives, will spend between 30 and 87 years in prison.
Kaplan was convicted back in June on 17 counts of child sex abuse for molesting the six sisters, five of whom were still underage at the time of the trial. He convinced a destitute Amish family to “gift” him their daughters based on his divine claims.
At sentencing, the judge reportedly called Kaplan’s behavior “corrupt, perverted, atrocious.”
Prosecutors said Kaplan is a self-proclaimed prophet who “brainwashed” the Stoltzfus family. Bucks County District Attorney Matthew Weintraub previously told PEOPLE that Kaplan used the family as “a virtual feeding ground of victims.”
… Among those who spoke out was a 15-year-old girl who said she was 7 when she first had sex with Kaplan.
Kaplan spent at least eight years sexually abusing his “child brides,” but he will now spend 30 to 87 years in prison (at age 52, this is essentially a life sentence). The judge handed down six separate sentences, one for each victim, and classified Kaplan as a sexually violent predator, according to local news outlets.
“One could argue… that you utilized [your intellect] to help establish a relationship with the children not for the purpose of putting a roof over their head or putting a meal in their stomachs or educating them, but for getting them to climb into your bed… If there was a good intent, it was washed away by the horrific acts that you committed upon this family.”
While Kaplan will get the punishment he deserves, what about the parents who said they “gifted” their daughters to this man? Clearly Kaplan was the mastermind behind this immoral operation, but the girls’ parents have to be held accountable as well. They put their daughters in direct danger and allowed this man to take advantage of them, all because of money and misplaced faith.
Thankfully, they won’t be let off the hook. In fact, in July, we reported that they would be getting up to seven years for child neglect.
This is hopefully the end of this tragic case, in which young girls testified against a predator they were still convinced they loved. But it is possible that he appeals the sentences. His lawyer said, “We’re reviewing all our options.”
“At this point, there are certainly some issues that need to be explored, but that’s not my decision at the end of the day; that’s Mr. Kaplan’s.”
Even if Kaplan appeals, though, there may be enough evidence for his wrongdoing that the sentence will be upheld or even expanded. There’s absolutely no evidence, on the other hand, that this is a religious freedom issue or that he is a prophet of “God.”
(Screenshot via YouTube)