4 denied bond in Amish beard cutting case

Four members of a breakaway Amish group charged with hate crimes were denied bond Wednesday.

CNN says

Sect leader Samuel Mullet Sr., along with two of his sons and his son-in-law, appeared in court in Youngstown, Ohio, for an arraignment hearing.

The judge ordered them held, calling Mullet a danger to the Amish community.

Another of Mullet’s sons and two others will appear Friday.

The seven are accused of shaving the beards and cutting the hair of individuals who refused to support Mullet.

The men who were allegedly attacked are believed to be former members of Mullet’s group who left over various disagreements. Mullet wanted to “seek revenge and punish the departing families,” federal documents in the case said.

The Pittsburgh Post-Gazette writes

Armed with scissors, the group would arrive at the homes of Amish families in rural Ohio after dark and attack the men inside, holding them down as they sheared their beards, which carry religious significance to the Amish. […]

Federal Magistrate Judge George J. Limbert ordered the four held without bond because “They are a danger to the Amish community,” he said.

“It appears to me that Sam Mullet has absolute control over his community,” the judge concluded.

If convicted of the crimes, the men face up to 10 years in prison. But if prosecutors can successfully argue that kidnapping was an element of the crimes, they could face up to life in prison, said Michael Tobin, spokesman for the U.S. attorney’s office in Cleveland.

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This post was last updated: Thursday, December 1, 2011 at 8:33 AM, Central European Time (CET)