Pittsburgh Post Gazette

May 20, 2019

By Shelly Bradbury, Peter Smith, and Stephanie Strasburg

Part 1 in a 6-part series

Mennonites, Amish face growing recognition of widespread sexual abuse in their communities

Huntington, Pa. – Martha Peight stood in the first row of the courtroom, shaking yet resolute, as she held the printout of her victim-impact statement.

In the benches behind her sat members of area Mennonite churches, wearing the traditional plain clothing of a separatist culture she had left behind — the bearded men in work clothes or dark suits, the women in long dresses and head coverings.

Some had come to lend moral support to her father, Daniel R. Hostetler, who sat with bowed head at the defense table, where he awaited his sentencing for sexually violating Ms. Peight years earlier when she was a young teen.

Others had shown up to support Ms. Peight as she sought justice that had been long delayed, in part due to actions of the former minister of the family’s Mennonite church, who was also there in the courtroom Nov. 29 in this central Pennsylvania county seat.

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