Using Holidays as Reason, Lee Kaplan Waives Hearing in New Sisters Sex Charges Case | NBC 10 Philadelphia

Using Holidays as Reason, Lee Kaplan Waives Hearing in New Sisters Sex Charges Case

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    Lee Kaplan will go before a judge for a preliminary hearing Monday morning following his arrest in June, on charges of assaulting a teen and her five younger sisters. (Published Monday, Nov. 21, 2016)

    A Bucks County man accused of sexually assaulting a teenager whose parents allegedly "gifted" her to him when she was 14 faced more sex abuse charges in the case where 12 girls were found living in the man's home in Feasterville, Pennsylvania and maintained his innocence while trying to protect the victims.

    Lee Kaplan waived a preliminary hearing in court Monday morning.

    "He didn't want to put the girls through any more trauma then they've been put through by the Commonwealth," said defense attorney Ryan Hyde.

    Hyde said that the girls' stories have changed and that Kaplan maintains his innocence.

    Bucks Co. Man Accused of Victimizing Young Girls Faces More Charges

    [PHI] Bucks Co. Man Accused of Victimizing Young Girls Faces More Charges
    Lee Kaplan was arrested in June for victimizing several young girls in his Bucks County home. Police said Monday night that he sexually abused at least six of the sisters. NBC10’s Cydney Long has the new details. (Published Monday, Oct. 31, 2016)

    "He took these people in, he educated them, he helped support them financially, he didn't have a sexual relationship with the minor children, he had what he believed to be a family relationship with them."

    Kaplan didn't want to make the girls to testify during the holiday season.

    "He views these as his children, his family... he feels somewhat protective of them," said Hyde.

    Kaplan, who District Attorney Matthew Weintraub called a "cult-like figure," sexually assaulted five of the teen's younger sisters, said investigators.

    New Sex-Assault Charges, New Victims in Lee Kaplan Case: DA

    [PHI] New Sex-Assault Charges, New Victims in Lee Kaplan Case: DA
    Lee Kaplan, already accused of fathering two children with a teenage girl, faces additional charges of sexual assault of five younger female siblings of the original victim, said Bucks County District Attorney Matthew Weintraub. (Published Monday, Oct. 31, 2016)

    No court date was immediately set for when Kaplan will face charges in the assault of the six sisters.

    The victims include a girl authorities said was sexually assaulted from ages 14 to 17, a girl raped from ages 11 to 15, a girl raped between ages 10 to 13, a girl indecently assaulted between ages 6 to 10, and one sexually abused at 8 years old, prosecutors said.

    The teen, who is now 18, told police Kaplan considered her and her sisters to be his wives, and he told them it was what God wanted, said Weintraub.

    "He groomed them to make them believe he was a religious cult-like figure to whom they should submit their will," Weintraub said.

    Custody Hearing for the 12 Girls Rescued in Bucks County

    [PHI] Custody Hearing for the 12 Girls Rescued in Bucks County
    Bucks County Children and Youth services confirmed there was a custody hearing for the 12 girls rescued from Lee Kaplan's Bucks County. Kaplan is accused of sexually assaulting the oldest girl and fathering two children with the now 18-year-old. (Published Wednesday, June 22, 2016)

    Hyde said Kaplan maintains the mother of his children is his wife and that he didn't touch the others.

    Weintraub said they had "credible evidence" to prove the new charges.

    Kaplan, 52, has remained behind bars on $2 million bail awaiting trial on statutory sexual assault, indecent assault and corruption of minors charges since his June arrest.

    Officials in Bucks County acting on a neighbor's tip on June 20 found Kaplan at his Feasterville home, along with the 12 girls, authorities have said. It was at that time the initial victim told police she and Kaplan had two children, according to investigators.

    "He raped (a girl) who gave birth to two of his children as a result," Weintraub said.

    Authorities also charged a man and woman who told police they are the parents of 10 children found in the house, including the teenager who gave birth to Kaplan's two daughters.

    The parents are charged with child endangerment. Police said they "gave" their 14-year-old daughter to Kaplan several years ago after he helped the couple, financially.

    Kaplan grew up in Cheltenham, graduating from the township's high school in 1982. He also owned a few properties in the area in the 1990s, including a large house in the Melrose Park neighborhood that he rented to college students.

    Man, Parents Under Arrest, 12 Girls Taken From Bucks County Home

    [PHI] Man, Parents Under Arrest, 12 Girls Taken From Bucks County Home
    Bucks County investigators say that they will do more interviews to find out more about 12 girls rescued from Lee Kaplan's home in Feasterville, Bucks County. Kaplan stands accused of statutory rape after he allegedly fathered two children with a girl, now 18. (Published Monday, June 20, 2016)

    A FedEx deliveryman told NBC10.com that he often made dropoffs and pickups at Kaplan's Feasterville home. Kaplan operated a model train business out of his home, according to corporate records. The deliveryman said he had no idea 12 children lived with Kaplan, but said the house "stunk" and that the homeowner often answered the door shirtless.

    Weintraub said that they hoped to eventually sell the house — which remained part of the investigation — and use the money for victim services.