3 Busted in Amish Beard Attacks
Beard-stealing is matter for church, says renegade bishop
By Rob Quinn, Newser Staff
Posted Oct 11, 2011 1:28 AM CDT
Sam Mullet, father of two of the three men arrested, talks outside his home in Bergholz, Ohio.   (AP Photo/Amy Sancetta)

(Newser) – Police in Ohio have arrested three men suspected of being involved in attacks that left several members of the Amish community beardless. The men are part of a renegade Amish sect led by apparent revenge-seeking bishop Sam Mullet, the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette reports. Two of Mullet's sons were among those arrested in connection with the attacks, in which groups of men wielding scissors and electric clippers allegedly forced their way into victims' homes to clip off their beards and hair.

Members of other Amish groups describe Mullet's 18 family-strong group as a cult, a description the bishop firmly rejects. He denies ordering the beard-cuttings, but says he should be allowed to punish people as he chooses. "You have your laws on the road and the town—somebody doesn't obey them, you punish them. But I'm not allowed to punish the church people?" he tells AP. "I just let them run over me? If every family would just do as they pleased, what kind of church would we have?"

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