Saturday, February 9, 2013

Amish sect leader sentenced to 15 years for religion-based hate crimes

Samuel Mullett, Sr., the leader of a breakaway sect of Amish in Bergholz, Ohio, was sentenced to 15 years in relation to his conviction of federal hate crimes for forcibly cutting the hair and beards of Amish not part of his faction, which is 18 families strong.  Fifteen of Mullett's followers, including three of his sons and their wives, were also convicted of related offenses, but they received shorter sentences, ranging from one year and one day (for most of the six women defendants) to seven years.  The prosecutor had recommended a life sentence for the elder Mullett, who was said to have coordinated the assaults even though he did not participate in any of them.

Reports of sentencing indicate that the elder Mullett asked that he serve all of the defendants' sentences so that the four couples involved could "go home to their families, raise their children."  The New York Times report included this further detail of the sentencing.
Another defendant, Lester Miller, apologized before the sentencing to his parents, whom he and others, including his wife, Elizabeth Miller, had attacked. He asked the judge to spare his wife, “to put her sentence on me,” so she could care for their 11 children, according to WKYC-TV.
Other defendants asked the judge to give them all or part of the elder Mullett's sentence.

Eyder Peralta's story about the matter, for NPR, is here.  The New York Times coverage is here.  Earlier blog posts about the events are here and here.

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