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Two Amish brothers from Missouri who were spared prison time last week after pleading guilty to downgraded charges for the rape of their 13-year-old sister could have their probation revoked for allegedly contacting the victim.
Aaron Schwartz, 22, and 18-year-old Petie Schwartz were back in Webster County Courthouse on Wednesday for a hearing after prosecutor Ben Berkstresser filed a motion accusing the brothers of violating the terms of their probation by having contact with their sister at her home.
The Schwartz brothers pleaded guilty to two counts of third-degree child molestation with a child under the age of 14, and were handed sentences totaling 15 years in prison, which were suspended as part of the plea agreement.
Aaron Schwartz, 22 (left), and Petie Schwartz, 18 (right) could be looking at 15 years in prison if a judge decides to revoke their probation for contacting their 13-year-old sister they raped
The pair and two of their younger brothers, both minors at the time, had had repeated sexual relations with their younger sister last year. The young girl was 12 and 13 years old at the time of the sexual acts.
Under the conditions of their probation, the brothers were barred from making any contact with the victim, but according to the prosecutor's motion filed last week, that is exactly what they did.
During Wednesday's probation hearing, the Schwartzes' defense lawyer Will Worsham that 'there has been no actual contact with the victim,' reported Springfield News-Leader.
The attorney further said that after meeting with their probation officer and being informed of a possible 'technical violation,' his clients moved to another part of the property where they were present to ensure no contact with the victim.
Worsham also noted that the probation officer’s report on the alleged violation indicated that his clients do not live with the victim.
Webster County Judge Michael Hendrickson declined to throw out the motion to revoke the brothers' probation and scheduled a new hearing for October 22, when he is expected to decide whether or not to re-impose the suspended sentences and send the defendants to state prison.
Berkstresser, the county prosecutor, revealed last month that the 13-year-old victim delivered a baby in late August. He said one of the Schwartz brothers is the father of the child.
The incestuous relations in the Amish family came to light in June when the pregnant teen told doctors that she had been having sexual relations with her four brothers.
Aaron and Petie Schwartz were initially charged with six felony counts of statutory rape and one felony count of incest after admitting to having sex with their sister a half-dozen times.
In early September, the men were offered a plea deal for two charges of third-degree child molestation.
The brothers had received a 10-year sentence in the Missouri Department of Corrections on the first count and five years for the second count.
Under the conditions of the agreement, the Schwartzes' sentences were suspended. Instead, they were put on probation for five years and spared jail time.
In order to stay out of prison, they are required to complete the Missouri Sex Offender Treatment Program by September 8, 2021.
The brothers must also perform 100 hours of community service and write an apology letter to Seymour's Amish community within 30 days.
Protesters are seen confronting a vehicle carrying the Schwartz brothers following a probation hearing on Wednesday at Webster County Courthouse in Marshfield, Missouri
They additionally must pay $250 to the Law Enforcement Restitution Fund, which provides funding to improve the operation of the sheriff's department and the prosecutor's office.
Berkstresser said in September that he was aware that the brothers' punishment would seem lax given their initial charge of six felony counts of statutory rape and one felony count of incest.
'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,' he said. '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.
He added; 'These two young men would've been eaten alive in the state prison system.'
Both brothers will be registered sex offenders for life.
The outcome of the case sparked outrage in the community and calls for Berkstresser to resign.