Mullet Gets 15 Years, Called ‘Religious Thug’

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CLEVELAND-- Sam Mullet was sentenced to 15 years in prison.

Four of his followers got seven years; three of his followers got five years; two of them got two years and six of them got a year.

A federal jury found them guilty of hate crimes, kidnapping and conspiracy.

A press conference was held after the sentencings were handed down Friday afternoon.

A prosecutor in the case called the attacks "religious disfigurement."

Federal investigators called Mullet and his followers "religious thugs."

Here's how Andrew Hydge, family attorney for the Mullet family, responded to the sentence: "They came in here expecting life. So, they're fairly happy today."

It all started in 2007, when rival Amish bishops alerted authorities of child abuse at the Bergholz compound, located southeast of Canton.

Mullet was enraged by the allegations and cut off the beards of his Amish enemies, which is a highly offensive tactic in the Amish community.

Here is what Sam Mullet said in his defense:

"I'm an old man.  They call me a cult leader and that I'm doing it all for me.  I am not going to be here much longer and my goal is to help people.  My kids are all married and have families.  If someone is to be punished, I will take the punishment for everybody.  Everything I say gets twisted and turned so I do not have much else to say."

The prosecution pushed for life in prison for Sam Mullet.

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