The leader of an Amish section from Ohio has reportedly been sentenced to 15 years in jail on hate crime charges.
As reported at the time, Samuel Mullet Sr. has been convicted in September last year for targeting men in his community on religious grounds.
“Our nation was founded on the bedrock principle that everyone is free to worship how they see fit. Violent attempts to attack this most basic freedom have no place in our country,” argues Steven Dettlebach, U.S. attorney for the Northern District of Ohio.
As a religious leader for 18 families, Mullet has been found guilty of orchestrating beard-cutting attacks on at least 7 people from the Amish sect.
“The actions of the defendants were designed to terrorize the victims, desecrate sacred symbols of their faith, and interfere with their right to worship.
“These prosecutions reflect the fact that the Department of Justice will not tolerate religiously motivated violence,” proved Thomas E. Perez, U.S. assistant attorney general for the Civil Rights Division.
According to the International Business Times, prosecutors originally went after the life in prison sentence in Mullet's case.
They argued that the attacks were motivated by Mullet's quest for power in the community, him trying to eliminate rivals.
The 16 man convicted for the crimes used “scissors and battery-powered clippers to forcibly cut or shave the beard hair of male victims and the head hair of the female victims.”
“From day one, this case has been about the rule of law and defending the right of people to worship in peace. This was never about ‘haircuts.’ These were violent, religiously motivated home invasions that left the victims bloody, bruised, and beaten,” Dettlebach says.
While Mullet has not participated in the attacks, he is believed responsible for planning them and hiding evidence in the form of photos and videos.