Lee Kaplan, charged with sex abuse of girls, will be tried in Bucks, judge rules

Lee Kaplan, front in yellow, and Daniel Stoltzfus, back in yellow, are led to a preliminary hearing Tuesday, Aug. 2, 2016, in Feasterville, Pa.

Lee Kaplan, the Feasterville man who was found living with 11 girls and their mother last June -- and is accused of fathering two children with the oldest daughter, who prosecutors say was "gifted" to him by her parents -- will be tried in Bucks County, a judge ruled Monday.

Kaplan's attorney last week sought a change of venue and asked for the 52-year-old to be tried by an out-of-town jury, arguing that statements by the district attorney and extensive media reports about the case had prejudiced Bucks County residents.

Judge Jeffrey L. Finley denied both motions, meaning Kaplan remains set to go to trial  in Bucks County on May 30.

On Thursday, Finley also denied other requests from Kaplan, including that testimony from two of the younger girls be excluded from trial.

Kaplan's attorney, Ryan Hyde, said Thursday that he was confident Kaplan would be found not guilty in Bucks County. 

"We hope people will reserve judgment," Hyde said after the hearing. "The DA has tried to convict my guy in the press."

Kaplan is charged of sexually abusing six of the girls and raping and impregnating the oldest. Daniel Stoltzfus "gave" Kaplan his wife, Savilla Stoltzfus, along with several of their daughters to be his wives, according to a presentation of facts by prosecutors that the Stoltzfus parents said were true in court on Thursday.

At their hearings, Savilla Stoltzfus pleaded guilty to child endangerment; Daniel Stoltzfus pleaded no contest. They will be sentenced after Kaplan's trial.