By Associated Press - Friday, January 24, 2020

LANCASTER, Pa. (AP) - An elderly Amish man who pleaded guilty to sexually abusing four girls for years is facing 38 to 76 years in prison in Pennsyvlania, even though the judge acknowledged Friday that the length of the sentence is largely symbolic given the man’s age.

David Stoltzfus Smucker, 75, pleaded no-contest in December to 20 felony counts, including rape. He chose not to speak in court in Lancaster County on Friday, and Judge Dennis Reinaker said this was his first case in 14 years on the bench where an Amish defendant didn’t admit guilt or ask for forgiveness.

The capacity crowd included Smucker’s wife of 50 years, black-suited members of his church and family and survivors of sexual abuse from Amish and Mennonite backgrounds.

The girls told police that Smucker assaulted them when they were between 4 and 9 years old, and told them to keep it a secret, authorities say.

Assistant District Attorney Fritz Haverstick said the girls’ trauma will be with them for the rest of their lives, and that they and their families just want Smucker to show remorse.

A county caseworker, Lauren Grimm, testified that the girls were removed from their homes and placed in separate households, where they are being homeschooled because they “acted out sexually” with relatives and their peers.

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