An elderly Amish man was attacked by his own son, who a sheriff said cut the man’s hair and beard in the latest incident in a breakaway Amish community.
But as the he Associated Press reports
The victim told the sheriff he was scared and upset but wouldn’t press charges.
“I’m frustrated with it. I’m upset with it. And, here again, the man doesn’t want to file charges because of his belief,” Jefferson County Sheriff Fred Abdalla said Friday.
Abdalla warned the son in advance that he didn’t want trouble and parked nearby during the father-son reunion, the first in several years.
The sheriff said the elderly man was attacked Wednesday while visiting his son in the breakaway Amish community that’s home to five suspects charged in an earlier beard-cutting attack. The son, whose father-in-law is the group’s leader, wasn’t among those charged earlier, Abdalla said.
Authorities in three other counties are investigating similar alleged attacks.
Such hair-cutting attacks are offensive to the Amish because they believe the Bible instructs women to let their hair grow long and men to grow beards and stop shaving once they marry.
The man, who Abdalla said was in his 70s, went to his son’s home and the two talked. The man said his son then attacked him, with the help of the son’s children, and wrestled the elderly man to the ground, Abdalla said.
The sheriff said the elderly man’s wife tried to help her husband but was held back by her daughter-in-law.
“This guy was just totally destroyed after this happened. They just humiliated him. I talked to him. I mean, the guy’s a broken man,” Abdalla said.
The so-called Bergholz Clan is a group of families disavowed by mainstream Amish. The group is headed by Samuel Mullet.
A former member of the group says Sam Mullet moved with some 120 fellow Amish to Bergholz some 15 years ago.
CNN last October reported that “Local law enforcement officials and members of the Amish community believe Mullet has created a cult and is single-handedly behind the beard cutting incidents and other crimes in recent years.”
The former Bergholz member — and son-in-law to Sam Mullet — compares the sect to the former Peoples Temple, the cult that, in 1978, ended in a mass suicide in Jonestown, Guyana.
“I’m not surprised if I have to call the sheriff some day and say there are a lot of dead people lying around here. That would not be a surprise to me nor would it be a surprise to the sheriff of that county,” the man told a local TV station last October.
The group is said to be the subject of an FBI investigation.