John G. Beiler (with Levi S. Esh, Sr.)

Pennsylvania Amish man and his bishop convicted for assaulting children, failure to report

John G. Beiler (b. 1978) sexually assaulted three girls who were between 12 and 14 years old while they were on his farm or other Old Order Amish farms in Lancaster County, Pennsylvania.

Beiler confessed to the bishop of his Amish congregation, Levi S. Esh, Sr. (b. 1957), and was instructed to confess to the fathers of the victims.

His confession to Esh reportedly took place in 2012 or 2013. The assaults reportedly took place between 2011 and 2015.

In 2019, police reported that witnesses from the Amish community said they had raised concerns to church leaders, and in response Esh said, “It’s been taken care of, and it’s none of your business.’” They said Esh “had the matter ‘handled internally’ to keep the incident quiet.”

Beiler was subsequently charged with nine counts (eight of which are felony charges) of assault, corruption of minors, and unlawful contact with minors. Esh, for his failure to report to the police or social services, has been charged with two misdemeanor counts.

In January 2021, Beiler pleaded guilty to all nine counts of abuse and was sentenced to prison and probation. Esh pleaded guilty to failing to report the abuse and was transferred to a diversion program where he will be supervised for two years and required to do 25 hours of community service “aimed towards informing the Amish community on mandated reporting.”

Church-related positions

  • Levi S. Esh, Sr. serves as bishop of two local Old Order Amish churches in Lancaster County, Pennsylvania
  • John G. Beiler is a member of the Old Order Amish church

Documentation

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