Ex-New Order Amish man pleads no contest to sexual assaulting his three daughters; SNAP outraged
In recent years the media has begun reporting on survivors of child sex abuse in Plain faith communities such as the Amish and Mennonite. Two days ago a former member of the New Order Amish community and the mother of three young daughters watched her ex-husband make his plea in criminal court. The man had sexually assaulted their girls and pleaded no contest to charges of statutory sexual assault, unlawful contact with a minor (sexual offenses), indecent assault, and endangering the welfare of children. The man acknowledged through his attorney that the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania had sufficient evidence to prove the counts.
Michael A. Kauffman was initially charged in 2019 with 32 counts, one of which was the rape of a child. Most of those charges were not part of the plea deal accepted Tuesday in the Cumberland County Court House. By taking a no contest plea, Kauffman did not even admit he committed the few counts involved in the plea deal. We call individuals like Kauffman who refuse to take responsibility for their actions 'cowards.'
Sentencing in this case will be on Aug. 17, 2021. The agreement between the prosecution and defense attorney is for five to ten years of incarceration plus 10 years probation. We are outraged that prosecutors would allow such a lenient sentence in this horrific case.
Judge Christylee Peck noted during the proceedings that she is not bound by this agreement and could impose a different sentence. We hope the judge hears the voices of Audrey Kauffman, the ex-wife, and his three innocent children and imposes the maximum penalty allowed under the sentencing guidelines. Those girls will have to carry this pain of their father's criminal assaults for a lifetime.
We are in complete awe of the courage and strength of Audrey and her family. Not only did the New Order Amish harass her and her children, but they also pressured her to be silent. Audrey chose instead to become an advocate and supporter to others who have faced the same horror within Plain churches.
Again, we urge the judge to hand down a substantial sentence in this case. Audrey and her family deserve that justice.
(SNAP, the Survivors Network, has been providing support for victims of sexual abuse in institutional settings for 30 years. We have more than 25,000 survivors and supporters in our network. Our website is SNAPnetwork.org)