Witness: Mullet Said His Sex Helps Marriages
CLEVELAND — Testimony resumed on day three of the religious hate crimes trial of Amish leader Sam Mullet and his 15 followers.
On Thursday morning, the defense started by cross-examining Barbara Miller, the sister of Sam Mullet, who is one of the alleged victims who had her hair cut off.
In Amish culture, the hair and beards are considered sacred religious symbols for men and women.
Cutting them is considered insulting, degrading and even disfiguring.
The prosecution then called Barbara Miller’s daughter, Nancy Miller Burkholder, to the stand.
Nancy Miller Burkholder testified that she was among those who cut her mother’s hair, along with the beard and hair of her father, back in September.
Nancy Miller Burkholder testified for the prosecution under a grant of immunity, and said that she knew about the plan to attack her parents before it happened, and that she and Mullet’s followers discussed the plans before the attack.
Then the prosecution called Nancy Mullet, the daughter-in-law of Sam Mullet, to the stand.
Nancy Mullet testified that in the summer of 2008, Sam Mullet started counseling her about her marriage to his son, Eli, after Eli suffered a mental breakdown and was hospitalized.
During that time, Nancy Mullet said that Sam started counseling her one-on-one, and that Sam wanted her to give him a hug.
That escalated into Sam telling her to kiss him and sit on his lap, Nancy Mullet said.
She testified that she did not want to, but ultimately agreed to do those things because she was afraid not to.
In the fall of 2008, she moved into Sam Mullet’s house.
Nancy Mullet stated that one night, Sam had one of his daughters come to Nancy Mullet’s bedroom to bring her to Sam’s bedroom.
She testified that she refused once, but then complied after a second request.
Nancy Mullet stated that Sam Mullet wanted her to have sex with him, and told her, “It was the only way to help Eli.”
She later testified that one night, she refused to have sex with Sam Mullet, which prompted a group discussion with Sam and other wives.
Nancy Mullet testified that Sam told her that other women in the group said sex with him helped their marriage, and that the women nodded their heads in agreement.
After that, Nancy Mullet said she and her husband, Eli, packed up their children and suitcases and left to live with her parents in Pennsylvania.