What Happened To Mike Kauffman From Sins Of The Amish?

The following article includes allegations of sexual assault of minors.

The Amish are live in small, often self-sustaining communities across the United States. On the one hand, they try valiantly to avoid entanglements with the outside world and instead focusing on their internal communities. They rarely vote, they don't serve on juries, and also don't serve in the military. However, in the communities in which they live, the Amish will interact with their non-Amish (or English, as most of the Amish call them, per Amish America) neighbors and they will patronize English businesses. Further still, as Discover Lancaster reports, the term "Amish Country" is basically code for "tourist attraction" in parts of not only Pennsylvania, but also Illinois, Ohio, and other regions where there are Amish communities.

Since the Amish tend to keep to themselves as much as possible, what goes on behind closed doors in that community is somewhat a mystery for outsiders. Unfortunately, crimes like sexual abuse are often not reported to law enforcement due to the Amish belief that God is the supreme authority, not law enforcement (per ABC News). The recent Peacock docuseries, "Sins of the Amish," took a closer look at this issue, and one of the offenders profiled in the series is Michael Aaron "Mike" Kauffman, who was convicted of sexually abusing young girls in his community, according to the Patriot-News.

The Silence of the Amish

Before delving into more information about Mike Kauffman and his victims specifically, it bears noting that not all of the Amish communities have the same set of rules (or the Ordnung, per The Young Center of Amish Studies), with what one group practices possibly differing from those of another Amish community even five miles away. 

As previously mentioned, the Amish generally tend to avoid mixing with the English world at all costs, and that means, among other things, often not calling upon law enforcement, even when someone is victimized, regardless if the crime has been committed by an outsider or by someone inside the community. As ABC News reports, communities are expected to police themselves. But since Amish communities don't have prisons, the worst punishment an offender can be given is a ban from the community in a practice known as shunning. Further still, the communities may turn away from its members who invoke actual law enforcement rather than trying to resolve the matter with the community's bishop.

The long and the short of this is that in some Amish communities, crimes may run rampant and unchecked by outside authority and that there is little to nothing the victims can do about it without risking the wrath of their own communities.

The Sins Of Mike Kauffman

Audrey Kauffman and her husband, Michael Aaron "Mike" Kauffman, were members of a New Order Amish community in Lititz, Penn. when they got married, according to the Lancaster Online. In 2019, Audrey learned from her daughters, all preteens, that their father was physically and sexually assaulting them. Audrey, instead of trying to handle the matter within the community, called the police. As the Patriot-News reports, the assaults allegedly occurred between 2011 and 2017. When prosecutors gathered enough evidence, Mike was charged with multiple criminal counts of sexual abuse, the sexual abuse of a child, statutory sexual assault, involuntary indecent sexual intercourse, along with multiple other charges.

As for Audrey, her ordeal was, by some measure, just beginning. Because she violated her community's Ordnung by invoking law enforcement, she became a pariah within the community that she loved. According to the Post-Gazette, she was harassed and pressured by members of that community, eventually being shunned.

If you or someone you know may be the victim of child abuse, please contact the Childhelp National Child Abuse Hotline at 1-800-4-A-Child (1-800-422-4453) or contact their live chat services.

Mike Kauffman Today

On November 2021, according to the Patriot-News, Mike Kauffman sentenced for his crimes. Earlier, he took a plea agreement in which he pleaded no contest to the charges against him. By that time, the charges against him only included statutory sexual assault, unlawful contact with minors and indecent assault of a child. Even as his sentence was being handed down, Kauffman angered the judge by sitting silently. "It's despicable you have nothing to say. You are the epitome of a sexually violent predator," said Cumberland County Judge Christylee Peck Judge Peck ordered Kauffman to five 10 year sentences in prison plus ten years of probation. He will also have to register as a violent sex offender.

"Their wounds will never go away," said Audrey Kauffman. Audrey Kauffman and her children never returned to be a part of the Amish community. As of August 2022, Mike Kauffman remains in prison.