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Amish Leader Gets 15 Years for Beard Cutting Hate Crime Case

By Ryan Lenz on February 8, 2013 - 3:49 pm, Posted in Hate Crime

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.

While Mullet, 67, did not appear to participate in any of the attacks, the trial did much to expose the workings of an Amish sect under his authoritarian rule as the group’s leader. According to prosecutors, he frequently punished his followers by confining them to “sleep for days at a time” in chicken coops and “had been counseling the married women in [the sect] and taking them into his home so that he may cleanse them of the devil with acts of sexual intimacy.”

Mullet, who spoke in court before the sentencing hearing, said he was falsely being blamed as a cult leader –– a charge he denies –– but asked that he be given the punishment for all the defendants.

“If somebody needs to be punished, I’ll take the punishment for everybody,” Mullet said according to WKYC-TV in Cleveland. “Let these mothers and fathers go home to their families, raise their children.”

  • kate

    the group attacked at nite amish elders-bishops-held them down by the throat and used scissors and hair clippers to shave off their lifelong beards & son testified his bishop father was shaking,crying after attack…..details are important…

  • howinteresting

    This Amish “leader” is by no means a “leader”. He ‘cleansed’ women through sex? They could’ve just taken a rather relaxing bath, but no, he’d rather them come over and make his bed rock. Perhaps it’s due to my ignorance that I pictured the Amish to be the less dramatic ones of society, but either way, their actions, or more like ONE man’s actions, have changed the viewpoints earlier had by me over the Amish. Sorry, I just felt like my opinion had to be voiced. But then again, who doesn’t feel like that?

  • concernedcitizen

    Of course there will be no court case with Dorner in it, but it will be interesting to find out what happens about the issues he raised concerning racism and corruption surrounding the officers that he worked with.

    I believe that people in communities where corruption is ripe amongst their local law enforcement are aware of it and it’s damaging to the officers and their safety as well. Los Angeles police, last I read, have an average of seven assaults on officers a day.

    It’s tough enough to deal with hardened criminals and organized crime but I believe it only makes matters far worse when they become what they “allegedly” despise.

    Thanks Reynardine for the information and the link.

  • B

    Mr. Lenz, That should be 15 years, not 15 “year.”



  • adamhill

    It seems a week can’t go by without someone whining here about some crime somewhere being committed by a non-white person against a white person, and claiming further (still whining) that because Hatewatch didn’t write anything about said crime, Hatewatch is “racist,” “a hate group,” “part of a liberal/homosexual conspiracy,” etc. Virtually without exception, the story turns out to be either unreferenced at all (suggesting it originated from hearsay or outright fabrication) or, when referenced, turns out to be an interracial crime where no clear race bias was involved, which makes it irrelevant to the themes of this blog. That this recurs so reliably demonstrates how poor these people are at critical thinking, and what a bunch of hyper-emotional, knee-jerk whiners they are.

  • adamhill

    Not Surprised wrote: “I can’t believe I ever supported your garbage organization.”

    I can’t believe you ever did either.

  • adamhill

    “A lot of isolated cases that reinforce an airhead Liberal philosophy get covered here without fitting the parameters of a hate crime.”

    For example?

  • Reynardine

    It looks like there won’t be any court case. The Los Angeles cop appears to have died in a shootout.

    Concernedcitizen, try following the link I gave Sam. You’ll find it interesting. These days, of course, with cell phones that do everything, it would be much easier for someone in that situation to document what is going on.

  • concernedcitizen

    @kiwiwriter Great Response! And I agree with you about the collection of evidence. I would love to hear the details and evidence come out in a court case regarding the Cop in Los Angeles. Which is a sad situation. He may have been subjected to hatred I just wish he had chosen a different path. Collected evidence, recorded their conversations etc. He could have done far more damage and made better advances for everyone had he just held it together. And I too felt that the manifesto bounced between “alleged” facts and his personal observations and well “damaging lunacy” that will serve as great evidence for the prosecution, if admitted.

    Also Kiwiwriter; wonderful responses to both Joe and Sam.

  • concernedcitizen

    @ Aron I agree with your statement to Joe and it’s people like those who just want to point fingers without doing their homework.

  • Sam Molloy

    Rey, I am not concerned in being like anybody. Some things are obvious to anybody with good horse sense, even if they hold wrong prejudices about Gay people, Black people, Spanish speaking people or anything else that is not their concern. In truth, most issues and situations are complicated. The ex cop is a tragic tale, as he would have been welcome on a lot of police forces, like Bloomington Indiana or Lexington Kentucky, out here in the flyover. The juvey in Brooklyn is merely an example of their absolutely failed legal system there. As for his motives, I don’t care. A lot of isolated cases that reinforce an airhead Liberal philosophy get covered here without fitting the parameters of a hate crime.

  • Kiwiwriter

    Well, “Not Surprised,” I suggest you provide us with a link to that case.

    “Joe Schmoe,” I suggest you improve your reading skills…there have been numerous articles about the Nation of Islam and the New Black Panther Party on this site and on Intelligence Report, ripping them bloody for their behavior.

    And “Sam Malloy,” provide us with evidence that the teenager who threw the kid off the roof in Brooklyn did so because of ethnic or racial hatred. He might just be a garden-variety skunk.

    Same thing with the nutter cop in Los Angeles. I read his manifesto, which alternates between complaints about the LAPD’s behavior and outright lunacy. He might have a genuine complaint about LA cops banding to protect each other and racism. He might also be playing with a deck of only 23 cards. I’d like to see more information first.

    Until then, it doesn’t seem to be a racial issue.

    Like the courts of our land, I want to see evidence…and not a link to an overheated page for neo-Nazis, replete with ads for perpetual motion machines and survivalist gear.

  • Reynardine

    Sam, no matter how much you cotton up to the kind of people you imagine you are, they’d still nail you to a barbwire fence if they could get you.

    The policeman in Los Angeles is someone who got “flaked” for reporting a fellow officer. It’s called the Blue Wall. That, needless to say, is not how to handle it, but “flaking” happens a lot, and it’s a major trauma to anyone who undergoes it. For details on this phenomenon, see

    As for the young thug in Brooklyn, unless he is operating as either a part of, or under the influence of, a hate group or hate propaganda, he is not within the purview of SPLC.

  • Aron

    Hey Sam,

    Are any of those hate crimes? I think not. Now go get your bottle, and take a nap. You’re obviously very cranky.

  • Sam Molloy

    Also not mentioned, the 17 year old with a mile long rap sheet who threw a 9 year old neighbor off the 5 story high roof in Brooklyn. Possibly, just possibly, because he is Black and none of those evil old guns were involved. Likewise the highly disgruntled ex LA cop who is striking such fear into those mighty men who have been videotaped beating Rodney King and dragging a 50 year old Hispanic woman out of a pickup truck to beat her. This perp is Black, and a fan of Obama and Rachel Maddow. Imagine the non stop articles you would run if he was White and some sort of John Bircher. Instead you give us an antique story about some very untypical Amish coots.

  • Aron

    Hey Joe Schmoe (more like Joe SCHMUCK),

    Why don’t you search the site? Both the Nation of Islam AND the New Black Panther Party are listed as hate groups. What a shocking turn of events!

    You idiot.

  • Aron

    Hey Not Surprised,

    How about posting a link? I get the feeling you’re about as full of hot at over this assertion as you are about having ever supported the SPLC.

    Liar, liar, plants for hire.

  • Joe Shmoe

    And where are your articles on Black Panthers threatening to kill white babies in Florida, or Louis Farakhan talking about waging war on whites, or any other incident or speech by Blacks filled with hate and vitriol? I think i label you as a hate group.

  • concernedcitizen

    This man sentenced people to sleep days at a time in chicken coops?

    Well chickens can make nice pets but I don’t think you can house train them. This is absolutely nuts!

    But I’m really in awe that any women would go to his home so that he could cleanse her of the devil with sexual intimacy.
    Are you serious?

    How did that conversation go something like this: “we will get that devil out of you, just come over to my place; I’ve got something in my pocket for you!”

    Honestly, he might as well invited them in to look at his rock collection. What sort of spiritual leader is this man?

    And as far as cutting of peoples beards and women’s hair yes I agree it was done to bring about religious degradation and that does sound like a hate crime.

  • http://SPLC Not surprised

    So you guys have written an article about Amish beard cuttings, but are still silent about the black male college student that killed three white women in Atlanta because they were white? Nothing. Zilch. Nada. SPLC would have an article up within an hour if it had been a white guy killing three black women because they were black. Just goes to show everyone once again that the SPLC is a biased joke. I can’t believe I ever supported your garbage organization.

  • Kiwiwriter

    I would not have expected to read or hear a story like this.

    I don’t think he’ll enjoy prison much.

  • erika

    and according to former Bush Administration drug warrior, Scooter Libby apologist, and Z list right wing blogger Bill Otis this prosecution obviously reflects the Obama Administration’s hostility towards religion (link posted earlier today on thread about the prosecution of the Barefoot Grand Dragon or whatever ludicrously grandiose title he called himself). Seriously, you just can’t make something like this up

    15 years seems like a reasonable sentence for that nutcake.

  • Aron

    Sounds fair. I hope his term in prison offers him the peace and solace he so desperately needs.