Thursday, September 2, 2010

Law and Order.

Get ready Rabbis, look what happens when you break the law.
Coming soon to the streets of Brooklyn, NY

Amish bishops are charged with not reporting child sex abuse

Originally printed at
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MARSHFIELD, Mo. --The Webster County prosecuting attorney accuses four Amish bishops of not telling law enforcement officers about the sexual abuse of girls in their community. Each bishop is charged with one misdemeanor count of failure of to report a sexual crime against a child.

Those charged on Tuesday are Christian Schwartz, 40; Jacob Schwartz, 79; Emmanuel Eicher, 44; and Peter Eicher, 59. They will be mailed summons to appear in court on Nov. 16. If convicted, they could each get a sentence in the county jail up to one year, or a fine up to $1,000.

Prosecutors say the bishops did not report sexual abuse that investigators believe Johnny Schwartz of Seymour committed on two relatives. Schwartz was charged in mid-October with six counts involving sexual abuse of children. His wife, Fannie Schwartz, is also charged with not reporting the abuse.

As bishops in the church, they are mandated by law to report abuse if they know it's happening. The prosecutor says they were aware of it.

If you spend a little time in Amish country, it won't take long to see it's a different way of life around here. There’s no electricity and little communication with the outside world, and a totally different set of rules.

Those rules include doling out their own punishment for a man accused of sexually abusing two little girls.

"They're completely embarrassed by that but they feel they have the authority through God to handle it their way," said Webster County Sheriff Roye Cole.

Their way is to keep it within the Amish community.

"He (Johnny Schwartz) was shunned, which essentially meant he couldn't have any involvement with the community for a period of time,” the sheriff said.

That period of time was 30 to 60 days. But, investigators believe, after Johnny Schwartz was shunned the first time, he sexually abused a second girl. It's the lack of reporting about that crime that is proving to be a challenge for law enforcement.

"If it happens again, do I think they'll report it? I don't know. I don't know,” said Cole.

Cole drove to the Amish community around Seymour and Diggins about three weeks ago to make clear to the Amish that they too are held to modern day laws and punishments, and ignorance of the law or claims of a Higher Authority doesn't override their obligation to report crimes.

So the question for a judge will be whether the four bishops found out about the alleged abuse in privileged conversation. The prosecutor's charges, would suggest otherwise.

"Any case where you have a third person going and saying, ‘Hey, so and so is sexually abusing a child,’ or ‘So and so is physically abusing or neglecting a child,’ at that point, the minister has a responsibility to report it,” said Prsoecuting Attorney Danette Padgett.

The state’s mandatory reporting law doesn't only apply to the bishops in the Amish community. The prosecutor and sheriff say they hope this case will be a lesson that will prompt all adults, not just Amish ones, to find out whether they are mandatory reporters under the law, and know what their responsibilities are.

The parents also get charged! (Mothers can't protect husbands, they must protect their children)

Amish wife is accused of not reporting husband's sexual abuse of girls
Originally printed at

MARSHFIELD, Mo. -- A sexual assault case in the Amish community near Seymour has resulted in more charges. Last week, Johnny Schwartz was charged with having sexual contact with two teenage relatives. Now his wife is also charged because investigators say she let it happen.

Webster County law officers say they learned by chance that Johnny Schwartz, 36, sexually assaulted two teenage girls.

"It was an accidental disclosure. They call it the English community; our community overheard this being discussed among the Amish, and they actually did the reporting,” said Webster County Prosecuting Attorney Danette Padgett.

Now Johnny’s wife, Fannie Schwartz, 47, is charged with not reporting the sexual contact to law officers. Detectives say Fannie Schwartz knew about the abuse.

"It's my understanding she did, at different points in time, report it to the church and the church took care of that situation, in their opinion,” said Padgett.

Court documents show Schwartz told detectives that she knew Johnny was having sexual relations with the girls, and they talked about it several times. According to a probable cause statement against here, she said it wasn't bothering her like it should have been.

"Anybody that has the responsibility of care for a child is considered a mandatory reporter,” said Padgett.

Sheriff Roye Cole says he understands there are cross-cultural conflicts but the two charges of child endangerment is no different for the Amish or anyone else.

"Do they even know they need to report it? Who's going to report it? And how do they report it? I don't think the Amish community's going to have a list of phone numbers so they know to call the hotline,” said Cole. “They need to know how to help children when they need it."

People in the Amish community around Seymour and Diggins have repeatedly asked Webster County law enforcement officers to let them punish their members on their own terms. Coles says he's scheduled a meeting with the community's elders on Friday morning to make sure this situation doesn't happen again.

A judge set Fannie Schwartz's bond at $25,000 and ordered her to have to contact with Johnny Schwartz or the two girls. If she's convicted, she could face a maximum prison sentence of seven years for one charge and four years for the other.

Yes this is America!

1 comment:

  1. We in New are waiting for this great thing to happen, but unfortunately It won't:

    Because only in about half of the nation clergymen are required to report abuse by. State law, new york does not require though..

    See link: