Authorities discovered the sickening sexual abuse of a 13-year-old girl by her adult brothers after the child became pregnant. However, despite confessing to their crimes, the prosecutor spared the men a 15-year prison sentence, allowing them to walk free.
A child molestation case shook Missourians after it was uncovered a twisted family affair that resulted in a preteen girl becoming pregnant and giving birth. Aaron C.M. Schwartz, 18, and Petie C.M. Schwartz, 22, along with two young brothers who are minors, were arrested when investigators discovered that the four siblings had engaged in sexual relations with their little sister, the Webster County Citizen reports. The family is part of Seymour’s Amish community.
The child victim, who was 12 and 13 years old when the abuse occurred, became pregnant by one of the four brothers and had given birth to their child. The police became aware of the abuse after the girl told her doctor that four of her brothers had been having sexual intercourse with her. The brothers were taken into custody, but only the eldest two were reportedly charged.
When speaking to detectives, Aaron and Petie each confessed to raping their younger sister “six times” on different occasions. They were individually charged with 6 felony counts of statutory rape and a single felony count of incest. Both brothers then posted their $100,000 cash bond and were freed, according to Ozarksfirst.com.
In a plea deal, both Aaron and Petie pleaded guilty to 2 counts of third-degree child molestation with a child under the age of 14, which warranted 15-year prison sentences. Still, despite the seriousness of their crimes, the pair wouldn’t set foot in a prison cell. Thanks to Webster County Prosecuting Attorney Ben Berkstresser, the brothers received probation and community service.
“In the end, this wasn’t a case of a parent and child, where a parent in a position of authority sexually abused or exploited their child. This was a situation where four siblings engaged in acts with their sister. I offered a 15-year prison sentence based on this … it was a different relationship. And I made the decision not to send them to the DOC, to suspend the sentences. These two young men would’ve been eaten alive in the state prison system,” Berkstresser said.
Aaron and Petie will remain on probation for 5 years and must complete 100 hours of community service. Additionally, they must complete the Missouri Sex Offender Treatment Program and are required to write a letter of apology to the Amish community. Lastly, they have to pay a $250 fine to the Law Enforcement Restitution Fund.
“It needs to be noted that in this case, there were four brothers, two of them minors, while the other two legally are adults,” Berkstresser explained. “All of them had sexual relations with their sister. There is no question this occurred.”
Although Berkstresser claimed to have taken the crimes with the utmost seriousness, he admitted that he didn’t want to see the brothers in jail because they would become a target for prison violence.
“These two young men would’ve been eaten alive in the state prison system. Previously, I’ve been very harsh on the Amish when they’ve been charged with crimes of this nature,” he said.
Berkstresser justified sparing the brothers prison time by assuring that the Amish community’s promised punishment was an acceptable alternative, but he didn’t specify what it entailed. He also claimed that the brothers are on a mental level that is much younger than their ages.
“In this instance, these two boys are very immature relative to their respective ages. Maturity wise, they are much younger than their age. One of the brothers is the father of this child,” Berkstresser said.
Even though he admitted that the brothers were undeniably guilty, he decided that releasing them back to the Amish was best for the family as well as the community.
“But within the Amish community that primarily lives in the Seymour area, (the Amish) don’t see the authority we have to do anything to them. This was a tough case to prosecute. The Amish community was cooperative yet upset. They made it clear to me that they had punished all four of the boys for their actions, and they made it clear that this punishment was very severe.”
Berkstresser assures that, if the brothers don’t complete their community service, they will then serve out their prison sentence. Of course, the onerous life of the Amish is far less burdensome than any community service handed down by the court system, suggesting that these men all but got away with their heinous crimes.
The case is a disturbing example of unequal justice under the law. Unfortunately, the only victim in this case is left at such a young age to raise her child while her brothers spend 100 hours collecting trash from the highway or some other menial task.