12 Amish Indicted on Federal ‘Hate Crime’ Charges
MILLERSBURG, Ohio— Federal authorities announced on Tuesday that 10 men and two women living in an Ohio Amish community have been been implicated in a seven-count indictment charging they took part in religiously-motivated assaults against members of the community.
According to the U.S. Department of Justice the indictment details five separate assaults that took place between September 2011 through November 2011.
Those charged are Samuel Mullet, Sr., Johnny S. Mullet, Daniel S. Mullet, Lester S. Mullet, Levi F. Miller, Eli M. Miller, Emanuel Shrock, Lester Miller, Raymond Miller, Freeman Burkholder, Anna Miller and Linda Shrock.
Prosecutors say that the defendants are all members of an Amish community in Bergholz, Ohio. According to the indictment, Samuel Mullet, Sr. is the Bishop of the community, a title revered by members of the Amish community that also requires the administering of discipline amongst community members.
Federal prosecutors allege that as a result of a religious dispute with other members of the community, the defendants planned and executed a series of break-ins and assaults where the victims’ hair and beards were cut off.
According to the indictment, the religious dispute stemmed from a misappropriation of power within the community by Mullet Sr. Prosecutors say Mullet Sr., “counseled” the wives of other community members on how to be sexually satisfied in their marriages.
The indictment alleges that the women counseled were expected to leave their husbands and children to live in Mullet Sr.’s house, where they were expected to sexually intimate with him. The indictment alleges that those who resisted or disobeyed became perceived religious enemies.
Prosecutors say that Mullet Sr. ultimately orchestrated the attacks that resulted, in some cases, with the attackers using battery-powered clippers to forcibly shave the beards and heads of the victims.
The indictment also alleges that the defendants also took photos of the victims after they were assaulted.
According to federal sentencing guidelines, those charged with a violation of the ‘hate crime’ statute face a maximum penalty of life in prison.
The FBI classifies the attacks as hate crimes, because the Amish consider their hair and beards to be a symbol of their commitment to the simple life, and the forcible cutting of hair brings shame to the victim.