Saturday, August 28, 2010

Two Amish Men Face Incest, Bestiality Charges In Grant County

Two Amish Men Face Incest, Bestiality Charges In Grant County
Grant County Authorities Conducted Three-Month Investigation
Updated: 10:35 pm CDT August 25, 2010 Channel 3000

LANCASTER, Wis. -- Two Amish brothers are facing a string of sexual assault charges, including committing incest and engaging in bestiality, on a Grant County farm.

The Grant County sheriff said it's one of the strangest and most disturbing cases he has seen.

Authorities issued two criminal complaints on Tuesday for the men -- Christian G. Stolzfus, 19, of Fennimore, and Dannie G. Stolzfus, 18, of Fennimore. They were the subjects of a three-month investigation by the Grant County Sheriff's Department and the county's Department of Social Services.

The men face charges involving at least six different family members and multiple animals.

Christian Stolzfus is charged with repeated sexual assault of a child, four counts of first-degree sexual assault of a child under the age of 13 without great bodily harm; attempted first-degree sexual assault of a child under the age of 13 without great bodily harm; two counts of incest; exposing genitals or pubic area; and two counts of sexual gratification with an animal. Authorities said that they believe these incidents occurred during a four-year period.

Dannie Stolzfus is charged with two counts of incest and sexual gratification with an animal. Authorities said that they believe these incidents occurred over a three-year period.

Investigators said that the some of the incidents occurred at an Amish farm in Hickory Grove Township. Additionally, some of the actions that Christian Stolzfus is accused of committing are alleged to have occurred at another farm in Mount Ida Township.

Authorities said the victims, at the time, ranged in age from 5 to 16 years old.

"The age of (the victims) is a concern to us," Grant County Sheriff Keith Govier said. "There was also some developmental issues with some of the victims. And hopefully their work with Social Services will address those things."

The sheriff said that surprisingly, and contrary to the Amish culture, the family reached out for help and contacted Social Services. By law, the agency got in contact with the Sheriff's Department about the alleged incidents.

The allegations were investigated over the past three months and on Tuesday charges were filed against the two brothers.

"I don't believe this is indicative of the Amish community here in Grant County, because through this, this family has reached out and accepted Social Service services," Govier said. "They've also accessed mental health services to deal with this."

Govier said that that the animals allegedly involved were a cow and a horse.

The two men have not yet been arrested. Instead, the Grant County Sheriff's Department said they will be summoned to court to face the charges against them.

If convicted of the charges, Christian Stoltzfus faces more than of 400 years in prison. Dannie Stoltzfus faces nearly 90 years in prison, if convicted.

No court dates have yet been set.

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