Two Amish brothers in Missouri admitted having sex with their 12-year-old sister and getting her pregnant — but managed to avoid jail time because a prosecutor feared they’d “be eaten alive” in prison, according to a report.
The abuse came to light after a doctor alerted authorities that the girl was pregnant just after she turned 13 — and she said that four of her brothers, two of them also minors, had been having sex with her, according to the Webster County Citizen.
The eldest two — Aaron Schwartz, 22, and 18-year-old brother Petie — admitted to police that they had sex with her at least half-a-dozen times each at home in Seymour, starting when she was only 12, officials told the paper.
The sister ended up giving birth just two weeks ago — and “one of the brothers is the father of this child,” Webster County Prosecutor Ben Berkstresser told the paper.
The brothers were initially both charged with six counts of statutory rape and one count of incest. But those charges were reduced to third-degree child molestation, a Class C felony, the paper said.
They then reached a plea deal last week to 15 years’ prison — but suspended to keep them out of jail, the paper said.
The prosecutor insisted it was a “different relationship” than if a “parent in a position of authority sexually abused or exploited their child,” and said the convicts were “very immature.”
“These two young men would’ve been eaten alive in the state prison system,” Berkstresser told the paper in defending his decision.
He also told the paper that the Amish community “had punished all four of the boys” and “made it clear that this punishment was very severe.”
“All of them had sexual relations with their sister,” the prosecutor said of the four brothers. “There is no question this occurred,” he said. It was not immediately clear if any action was taken against the two brothers who are minors, and it was not clear how old they are.
The convicted brothers must complete the Missouri Sex Offender Treatment Program (MOSOP) as well as 100 hours of community service — as well as write a letter as part of their punishment, the report said.
“Both young men must write a letter to me, explaining how they are going to protect their children from this happening to them,” Berkstresser said. “They have 30 days to get this letter to me.”
The prosecutor accepted that his decision would likely receive harsh backlash. “Previously, I’ve been very harsh on the Amish when they’ve been charged with crimes of this nature,” he insisted to the paper.
He said the brothers “will go to prison” if they do not complete a sex offender treatment program within a year.
“This won’t be easy for either of them to do, but I’ll assure you they will face the consequences if the program isn’t completed,” the prosecutor said. “And that consequence will be prison.”