An Amishman was sentenced Thursday in Dauphin County, PA for sexually abusing four girls when he was a teenager. From Penn Live:
The 11 ½- to 23-month prison term President Judge Richard A. Lewis imposed on King was set in an agreement King reached when he pleaded guilty to multiple charges, including aggravated indecent assault, in April.
King, now 33 and a Lebanon County resident, is to serve his sentence in the county work-release center, then spend another 5 years on probation and perform 500 hours of community service.
The victims’ response:
Adam said King’s victims agreed with his plea deal and are willing to forgive him.
“Nevertheless, there’s still a price to pay under Pennsylvania law,” Lewis told King.
King will be allowed to attend church, having been granted an exception to sex offender regulations.
This conviction comes following sexual abuse awareness efforts from Deputy District Attorney Katie Adam and other authorities:
His arrest apparently stems from a sexual abuse awareness program she, county victim advocates and the state police offered to Amish bishops in upper Dauphin County and Northumberland and Schuylkill counties in 2017, Adam said. She said numerous anonymous tips were reported to police from Amish sources after that program.
Dauphin County was the site of two other recent abuse-related convictions in the Amish community – of a sexual abuser, and also a bishop for failing to report the abuse.
Critics have long held that sexual abuse is an issue which needs to be addressed in Plain communities. For example, it has happened that church discipline has superseded legal consequences for abusers. Here is a description of the problem from the perspective of one survivor. This post describes some of the challenges hampering reporting of abuse in some communities. A recent six-part series in the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette also explored this painful and difficult topic.
After the experience of the bishop being charged for failing to report, and the awareness program, perhaps things are changing in these communities. If the awareness program has made people within the Plain community more comfortable reporting when crimes are being committed, that can only be a good thing.
How many communities have had these programs however, and how many might benefit from them?