Ohio man was sentenced Friday to 15 years in prison, while family members convicted of carrying out his orders got sentences ranging from one to seven years.
What crime lead this sentence? BEARD CUTTING! Authorities prosecuted the attacks as a hate crime.
The 10 men and six women were convicted last year in five attacks in Ohio Amish communities in 2011. The government said the attacks were retaliation against Amish who had defied or denounced Mullet’s authoritarian hold over the splinter group he started in 1995.
The case has opened a rare window to the lives of the insular Amish, who shun many facets of modern life and are deeply religious. Amish believe the Bible instructs women to let their hair grow long and men to grow beards once they marry. Cutting it would be shameful and offensive.
“The victims were terrorized and traumatized,” U.S. District Judge Dan Aaron Polster said, noting that the same constitution that exempts them from jury service and permission to leave school at 14 was turned against the victims. “Each of you has received the benefits of that First Amendment.”
Federal prosecutor Bridget Brennan urged the judge to punish Mullet adequately.
“He is a danger to this community,” she said. “He is capable of controlling 15 defendants.”
Brennan repeated key testimony against Mullet and said he has remained the leader of his eastern Ohio community despite being locked up since his arrest in late 2011.
U.S. Attorney Steven Dettelbach, whose office directed the prosecution, said he was confident the law would withstand a constitutional challenge.he jury had sided with prosecutors’ arguments that the defendants should be found guilty of a hate crime because religious differences brought about the attacks.
The judge said the defendants have two weeks to file appeals of their sentences or convictions. Defense attorneys have indicated such appeals are likely. Rhonda Kotnik, attorney for Kathryn Miller, a 24-year-old mother of three who received a one-year sentence, said appeals would focus on whether the hate-crimes law is unconstitutionally broad and whether restraining the victims to cut their beards amounted to kidnapping.Nine of 10 men who were convicted have been locked up awaiting sentencing. The six women, who all have children, have been free on bond.