It was enough to instill fear in even the most stouthearted of persons. A band of Amish marauders swooping in out of the darkness brandishing horse shears, pinning down their hapless victims and cruelly cutting their hair and their beards. In all, there were five separate assaults and nine people were shorn. To add insult to injury, the victims were photographed in their beardless and hairless state (and the photos were probably posted on Facebook).
The lead perp in the October 4, 2011, crime spree was Samuel Mullet, the self-appointed bishop of an ultraconservative splinter sect in rural Ohio. Mullet had determined that the victims were enemies of the sect and had to be taught a lesson. Once they were taught, however, the victims reported the crimes to the authorities, claiming that Mullet was leading a bloodthirsty cult. As a result, Mullet and several of his followers were arrested and charged with hate crimes, since beards and long hair have important religious significance to the Amish.
During the trial, prosecutors argued that Mullet was guilty of a host of sins that added up to not behaving very Amishly. He read his followers’ mail and blacked out the parts he didn’t like. He punished them by paddling them with various objects and locking them up in chicken coops. He behaved inappropriately with unmarried women followers and provided personal “marital counseling” to married women.
Defense lawyers did not dispute that the beard and hair cuttings took place. They suggested that the shearings were an act of brotherly love in an effort to invite the victims to return to a stricter Amish lifestyle. The jury didn’t buy it. Mullet was convicted and sentenced to 15 years in prison. Three of his sons, one of his daughters and 11 other followers received shorter sentences.
Inspirational Quote for 10/4/16