Space porn: These images are (quite literally) out of this world
The leader of a breakaway Amish sect in Ohio was sentenced to 15 year in prison today for orchestrating the cutting of hair and beards of Amish men and women, a form of religious degradation viewed as punishment, the New York Times reported.
Samuel Mullet Sr. was sentenced in U.S. District Court in Cleveland, along with 15 of his followers, including six women. Others were given lesser sentences ranging from one year and a day to seven years. All of them were convicted of hate crimes last fall, the first such convictions in Ohio under the federal Matthew Shepard and James Byrd Jr. Hate Crime Prevention Act, which was enacted in 2009.
The convictions stemmed from a series of five attacks between Sept. 6 and Nov. 9, 2011. According to the FBI, the attackers took photographs during the assaults, and buried the disposable camera they used at the base of a tree on Mullet’s property.
As the Times reported, the Amish view their long beards and flowing women’s hair as symbols of “religious devotion and cultural identity.” Prosecutors, who had asked for life sentences, argued that the assaults were hate crimes due to the religious nature of the attacks.
While Mullet, 67, did not appear to participate in any of the attacks, the trial did much to expose the workings of an Amish sect under his authoritarian rule as the group’s leader. According to prosecutors, he frequently punished his followers by confining them to “sleep for days at a time” in chicken coops and “had been counseling the married women in [the sect] and taking them into his home so that he may cleanse them of the devil with acts of sexual intimacy.”
Mullet, who spoke in court before the sentencing hearing, said he was falsely being blamed as a cult leader –– a charge he denies –– but asked that he be given the punishment for all the defendants.
“If somebody needs to be punished, I’ll take the punishment for everybody,” Mullet said according to WKYC-TV in Cleveland. “Let these mothers and fathers go home to their families, raise their children.”
NASA astronaut Mike Hopkins
On December 28, 2013, Expedition 38 crew member Mike Hopkins participating in the second of two space walks to replace a degraded pump module on the International Space Station. (NASA astronaut Rick Mastracchio is reflected in his helmet!)
The Soyuz TMA-10M
The Soyuz TMA-10M headed towards the International Space Station with crew members from Expedition 37 onboard.
40 years ago the Apollo 8 mission flew up to the moon, orbited it ten times and then returned to Earth. This picture was taken from that flight and shows the Earth as it seemingly rises in similar fashion to a sunrise.
Sunrise from Expedition 36
NASA Flight Engineer Karen L. Nyberg of Expedition 36 took this photo of the sun rising -- a sight they saw nearly 16 times per day due to the speed of the International Space Station's orbit around the earth.
A pair of NanoRacks CubeSats -- nanosattelite spacecrafts carrying experiments -- were launched by Expedition 38.
Salon is proud to feature content from The Southern Poverty Law Center, a nonprofit civil rights organization dedicated to fighting hate and bigotry, and to seeking justice for the most vulnerable members of society.