Earlier in June a story broke about 12 young girls being found in a shady looking house in Feasterville, Pennsylvania.
The unkept house belonged to Lee Kaplan a 51 year old male, of the 12 girls one is 18 years of age and said that she was the mother of two of the girls found in the home. She also named Kaplan as the father of her two girls.
Details are still coming out in this bizarre case; what has been reported so far is that the now 18 year old was ” gifted” to the creepy 51 year old guy when she was only 14 years old. She was gifted by her parents in exchange for Kaplan bailing them out of some financial troubles. The girls parents said that they did some research online and thought what they did was perfectly legal. It is still not known if any of the other girls in the home suffered any abuse from Kaplan.
The first question I had after reading about this was; did the parents really break the law? If this young lady was legally married to creepy old guy and they have to children, then no laws would have been broken. I tried to look up two things;
1. Marriage laws in Pennsylvania
2. Amish Marriage laws
What I found was that Pennsylviana Marriage laws are kind of sketchy. The legal age to get married without consent is 18, you can get married at 16 with out consent if the court feels that it is in your best interest. A child can be married if they have consent from their parents. Boom! No minimum age! http://www.legis.state.pa.us/WU01/LI/LI/CT/HTM/23/23.HTM
I had heard reports that the parents who “gifted ” their child were part of the Amish community. I am not an expert on Amish culture, nor am I that interested in them. I did look up Amish marriage customs and found nothing about ” gifting” ones child to perry old guy. I did not find any indication that this is something that happens in the Amish community. In fact the average age that Amish girls marry is 21.
I will be following this story as it unfolds and more information is released. At this point it looks like society in general failed these girls. News reports have stated that neighbors waited years to report conerns. A detective was at the house investigating a fire two years earlier and noticed all the girls. Kaplan told the detective that the girls were staying with him while their home was being remodeled. The dective never followed up to see if the story was true. The most infuriating thing I heard was from local peopel in town who knew something was strange and excused it as ” religion”. So because this did was super ” religious” and spouted off bible verses he might be ok?
Keep your eyes open readers, it is your business and who knows who’s life you might save.