LANCASTER COUNTY (PA)
By Peter Smith
January 24, 2020
A judge imposed a 38- to 76-year prison sentence Friday on an elderly Amish man for years of sexually abusing four girls in a case that highlighted growing awareness of sexual abuse among Amish and related church groups.
“It is hard for me to imagine anything more offensive or evil than the conduct you have perpetrated,” Lancaster County Court of Common Pleas Judge Dennis Reinaker told David Stoltzfus Smucker, 75, who sat without emotion in his wheelchair and declined to say anything in his defense. He was handcuffed by a female officer and wheeled out immediately at the end of the hearing.
The hearing had the heavy, quiet atmosphere of a funeral.
Members of his church and family in dark suits and dresses looked on from behind him. Across from him sat survivors of sexual abuse from Amish and Mennonite backgrounds who traveled from miles around for Smucker’s judgment day.
The judge and Assistant District Attorney Fritz Haverstick said Smucker’s conduct was even more monstrous because he abused his position as a grandfather, molesting the girls routinely and severely during their visits to his house.
“That man used his grandchildren as sex toys,” Mr. Haverstick said.
Devastatingly, the girls, already traumatized by the death of their mother, were so severely wounded that the cycle of abuse is continuing in their own lives and behavior, he said.
“I don’t think he has a shred of remorse,” Mr. Haverstick said.
Smucker, of East Earl, Lancaster County, pleaded no-contest in December to 20 felony counts of sexually assaulting the girls. The charges included rape, incest and involuntary deviate sexual intercourse with a child, actions he would take while telling the children rhymes and stories.
Smucker was arrested in March 2019. The assaults began when the girls were 4 or 5 and continuing until they were 10 or 11 when the abuse came to light in late 2018.
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