Amish Beard Cutters Sentenced Friday

Amish Beard Cutters Sentenced Friday.

I guess no one escapes judgement not even the Amish. On Friday, the ring leader in the hair and beard cutting attacks on fellow Amish was sentences to 15 years in prison and 15 family members were sentenced to one to seven years in prison. The U.S. District Court Judge Dan Aaron Polster said in sentencing Sam Mullet Sr. 67 that the victims were terrorized and traumatized. He continued is saying that each of the defendants had benefited from the First Amendment and had violated their fellow Amish constitutional rights protecting religious practices such as jury service exemption and allowing Amish children to leave school at 14.  The judge concluded by informing the defendants that they had two weeks to file an appeal which the defense has already indicated such action. Mullet, the ring leader of the group in question, said before his sentencing that if his community is seen as a cult he would take the punishment for everyone and conveyed to the courtroom, victims and his family alike, that he has only tried to help people. The government had asked for a life sentence, while the defense asked for two years or less, so 15 years seems pretty fair. The 10 men and women were involved in five attacks last year in Amish communities in 2011. The attacks according to the government were retaliations against Amish who defied or denounced Mullet’s authoritarian style. The Amish believe the Bible instructs women to grow long hair and men to grow beards once married as a result cutting it would be offensive to the Amish. The Federal prosecutor Bridget Brennan urged the judge to punish Mullet adequately as he is a danger to this community and can control these 15 defendants. U.S. Attorney Steven Dettelbach, said he believes the law would withstand constitutional challenge by the defendants and that the sentence for Mullet was appropriately harsh and his conduct in court shows his lack of remorse and respect for the law. The defendants were charged with a hate crime because prosecutors believe religious differences brought on the attacks. Nine of the ten men are locked up waiting sentencing, while the six women who have children were freed on bond. Mullet’s family doesn’t believe that is was a hate crime and that all of the victims had their hair grow back. Arlene Miller sees it differently as her husband an Amish bishop was attacked. She believes that Mullet deserved a tough sentence and the others should get cult-deprogramming counseling. In the end, there were no winners and no happy endings in the case.

 

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