Jury selected in Lee Kaplan 'gifted' girls case

A jury was chosen Tuesday in the trial of Lee Kaplan, the Bucks County man accused of keeping 11 girls, all members of the same family, in his Feasterville home and sexually assaulting six of the underage sisters, some of whom he claimed were his wives.

Eight men and four women were selected to decide the fate of Kaplan, 52, who is charged with sexual assault in a case that has gained national attention.

The trial is set to begin Wednesday morning in Doylestown in front of President Judge Jeffrey L. Finley. Some of the girls and Kaplan’s estranged wife are expected to be called as witnesses.

Kaplan has maintained his innocence; his attorney said Tuesday he hoped people reserve judgment of Kaplan until the facts come out in trial.

Lee Kaplan. Photo courtesy of 6ABC

Detectives responding to a child-abuse tip found the 11 girls and their mother in Kaplan’s house last June. The girls did not have birth certificates, had not been to doctors or public schools, and had been generally confined to the house and yard, prosecutors said. Kaplan told police the oldest girl was “gifted” to him by her parents, Daniel and Savilla Stoltzfus, who then sent their children to live with him. Kaplan had two children with the oldest daughter.

Kaplan allegedly told police that he was a prophet from God who was advising and educating the women. He assisted the Quarryville, Lancaster County, family with financial troubles and helped them leave the Amish faith. He and Daniel Stoltzfus started a business together, and he became close with the daughters.

Last month, Daniel Stoltzfus pleaded no contest and Savilla Stoltzfus pleaded guilty to charges of child endangerment. They will be sentenced after Kaplan’s trial.