News-Leader - Springfield, Missouri October 20, 2010
Amish elders plead guilty for failure to report abuse
by NEWS-LEADER STAFF
Four elders of an Amish church in Seymour have pleaded guilty to failing to report child abuse as mandated reporters.
Christian Schwartz, Jacob Schwartz, Emmanuel Eicher and Peter Eicher pleaded guilty Monday in Webster County Circuit Court in Marshfield. Each must pay a $300 fine and court costs, court documents show.
The four men were charged with misdemeanor violation of Missouri's mandated reporter law, which requires teachers, medical professionals and others to report potential abuse to authorities.
Prosecutors said the men were aware for at least six months that Johnny Schwartz, a member of one of Webster County's six Amish churches, had been molesting two girls.
Johnny Schwartz was arrested in October 2009 and charged with four counts of statutory sodomy and two counts of child molestation. He pleaded guilty in January and was sentenced to 20 years in prison.
His wife, Fannie Schwartz, was charged with two counts of endangering the welfare of a child because she allegedly knew he was sexually molesting the girls, now ages 15 and 16.
She received five years' probation with 100 hours of community service.
According to a probable cause statement, Johnny Schwartz admitted to the congregation that he had molested the two girls. Although the church shunned him multiple times, no one ever reported the years of abuse to authorities.
Christian Schwartz, one of the bishops of the church, said it was against Amish rules to report child sexual abuse to law enforcement, the probable cause statement said.
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