Amish Leader Gets 15 Years for Beard Cutting Hate Crime Case
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.