A Bucks County man accused of sexually abusing six Lancaster County sisters living in his house waived a preliminary hearing Monday.
Lee Kaplan, 52, of Feasterville, insists he is innocent and looks forward to sharing his side of the story at trial, his attorney said.
Kaplan was arrested in June for allegedly impregnating a teenager who had been "gifted" to him by her parents. He was later charged with additional crimes for allegedly sexually abusing several of the underage sisters found at his home. He is charged with abusing six girls total, including one as young as 6.
The preliminary hearing he waived Monday was for additional sexual-abuse charges filed last month, including rape of a child and other crimes.
Kaplan waived the hearing Monday just as prosecutors were calling the first girl to the witness stand, Assistant District Attorney Kate Kohler said. She said it was "a pleasant surprise" that the girls did not have to relive their trauma in court Monday.
Kaplan "still asserts that he's innocent," said his attorney, Ryan L. Hyde.
"It was just important to him that he not put the girls through any more trauma at this stage, especially given that it's Thanksgiving week," he said.
Bucks County District Attorney Matthew D. Weintraub said last month that Kaplan had groomed the girls to believe he was "a prophet from God," and told them they were all his wives. He had two children with the oldest, now 18. Police said the abuse continued for eight years and continued until the girls were found in June.
The girls' parents, Daniel and Savilla Stoltzfus, told officials they had given their oldest daughter, then 14, to Kaplan in gratitude for his having helped them with financial problems. They were charged with child endangerment and have been in jail since their arrests.
The girls are in the care of child-protective services, officials have said.
"We look forward to seeking justice in this case for these girls," Kohler said Monday.
Kaplan is scheduled for a formal arraignment Dec. 23. Hyde said Monday that Kaplan intends to waive that hearing and enter a plea of not guilty.