Amish leader sentenced for beard-cutting hate crime

Samuel Mullet Sr. faces 15 years in prison for orchestrating acts of religious degradation

Topics: Southern Poverty Law Center, Amish, Hate Crimes, Cult, Religion, ,

Amish leader sentenced for beard-cutting hate crimeAmish women exit the U.S. Federal Courthouse in Cleveland on Thursday, Sept. 20, 2012. The jury found all 16 Amish people guilty in the hair- and beard-cutting attacks against fellow Amish in Ohio. (AP Photo/Scott R. Galvin) (Credit: Associated Press)
This article was originally published by The Southern Poverty Law Center.

The Southern Poverty Law Center

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.”

Featured Slide Shows

  • Share on Twitter
  • Share on Facebook
  • 1 of 10
  • Close
  • Fullscreen
  • Thumbnails

    Romance novels need a canon

    "Bet Me" by Jennifer Crusie

    A contemporary romantic comedy set to Elvis Costello and lots of luxurious and sinful sugary treats.   Read the whole essay.

    Romance novels need a canon

    "Welcome to Temptation" by Jennifer Crusie

    Another of Crusie's romantic comedies, this one in the shadow of an ostentatiously phallic water tower.   Read the whole essay.

    Romance novels need a canon

    "A Gentleman Undone" by Cecilia Grant

    A Regency romance with beautifully broken people and some seriously steamy sex.   Read the whole essay.

    Romance novels need a canon

    "Black Silk" by Judith Ivory

    A beautifully written, exquisitely slow-building Regency; the plot is centered on a box with some very curious images, as Edward Gorey might say.   Read the whole essay.

    Romance novels need a canon

    "For My Lady's Heart" by Laura Kinsale

    A medieval romance, the period piece functions much like a dystopia, with the courageous lady and noble knight struggling to find happiness despite the authoritarian society.   Read the whole essay.

    Romance novels need a canon

    "Sweet Disorder" by Rose Lerner

    A Regency that uses the limitations on women of the time to good effect; the main character is poor and needs to sell her vote ... or rather her husband's vote. But to sell it, she needs to get a husband first ...   Read the whole essay.

    Romance novels need a canon

    "Frenemy of the People" by Nora Olsen

    Clarissa is sitting at an awards banquet when she suddenly realizes she likes pictures of Kimye for both Kim and Kanye and she is totally bi. So she texts to all her friends, "I am totally bi!" Drama and romance ensue ... but not quite with who she expects. I got an advanced copy of this YA lesbian romance, and I’d urge folks to reserve a copy; it’s a delight.   Read the whole essay.

    Romance novels need a canon

    "The Slightest Provocation" by Pam Rosenthal

    A separated couple works to reconcile against a background of political intrigue; sort of "His Gal Friday" as a spy novel set in the Regency.   Read the whole essay.

    Romance novels need a canon

    "Again" by Kathleen Gilles Seidel

    Set among workers on a period soap opera, it manages to be contemporary and historical both at the same time.   Read the whole essay.

  • Recent Slide Shows

Comments

0 Comments

Comment Preview

Your name will appear as username ( settings | log out )

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href=""> <b> <em> <strong> <i> <blockquote>