Friday, November 25, 2011

More Mullet Cult Arrests

The Amish Beard Wars saga continues! On Wednesday, the FBI and Ohio police launched a raid against Sam Mullet's Bergholz Clan compound, arresting seven members of the sect including Mullet himself and three of his sons. The seven face federal hate crime charges in connection with hair and beard-cutting attacks on other Amish women and men, allegedly ordered by Mullet and carried out by members of his group.

Seven men were in custody and expected to be arraigned Wednesday. They include Mullet and sons Johnny, Lester and Daniel, Tobin said.

All of the men were sleeping when the FBI and local police showed up at their homes before dawn Wednesday, Jefferson County Sheriff Fred Abdalla said. Three men initially refused to come out of their rooms, but all seven were arrested without incident, he said.

Authorities were planning to hold a news conference Wednesday afternoon to explain why they charged the men with hate crimes, Tobin said.

The attacks came amid long-simmering tension between Mullet's group, which he established in 1995, and Amish bishops. Arlene Miller, the wife of one victim, said several bishops hadn't condoned Mullet's decision to excommunicate several members who previously left his community, saying there was no spiritual justification for his action.

I'll say it one more time. The guy's name is Mullet, and his followers go around cutting hair. As Morgan noted on the original thread, you really can't make this stuff up. I'll add that hate crime laws draw a lot of criticism, but this is precisely the sort of situation for which they exist. In a previous interview, Mullet implied that from a legal standpoint cutting hair was no big deal, when as an Amish bishop he knew full well how important hair and beards are to members of his faith. Hate crime statutes allow these sorts of religious attacks to be prosecuted based on their significance to the victims, not just on how serious they might seem to members of society at large with different beliefs.

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