wo Amish brothers have pled guilty to molesting their 13-year-old sister — but none of them will likely be serving prison time.
Aaron Schwartz, 22, and his brother Petie, 18, were arrested in June after being accused of repeatedly raping their underage sister, who was 12 years old when the attacks started, according to the Webster County Citizen, a local newspaper.
Authorities first became aware of the sexual assault when the sister became pregnant by one of the brothers, the County Citizen reports. The brothers were arrested, and Petie and Aaron each allegedly admitted to having sex with the girl six times over the past year, local station KOLR reports. Their two younger brothers, both minors, also allegedly had sex with the sister.
When asked whether he’d do it again, Aaron told investigators, “Not to a little one like that,” according to a probable cause statement obtained by .
The 13-year-old gave birth in early September, county prosecutor Ben Berkstresser told the County Citizen.
The two men were each initially released on $100,000 bond and forbidden from coming near their sister or other children, KOLR reports. They pled not guilty at an arraignment July 9.
However, before further court proceedings began Sept. 8, the brothers reached a plea agreement with Berkstresser, the County Citizen reports. In exchange for pleading guilty to two counts of child molestation apiece, Aaron and Petie were each given suspended prison sentences totaling 15 years.
Instead of going to prison, the two men will spend the next five years on probation and must complete the Missouri Sex Offender Treatment Program and perform 100 hours of community service in the next year, the County Citizen reports.
They must each also write an apology letter to their community within 30 days and pay $250 to the Law Enforcement Restitution Fund, according to the newspaper.
Berkstresser expressed disappointment about this ruling in an interview with Missouri outlet KY3. But despite the Schwartzes’ alleged confessions to detectives, he said he didn’t have enough evidence to push for a harsher conviction.
“I can’t rely on something that was said or may have not been said at a different time. I can’t present a piece of paper, well here it is, now you have to convict him,” Berkstresser said.
He told the County Citizen that Aaron and Petie “would’ve been eaten alive in the state prison system,” as they were “very immature relative to their respective ages.”
Berkstresser also added that the brothers had already received “very severe” punishment within the local Amish community — a community reluctant to accept non-Amish courts’ authority.
The Schwartzes’ attorney, Will Worsham, could not be immediately reached for comment.