FBI agents arrested seven men in Ohio and charged them with federal hate crimes in connection with Amish haircutting attacks, the AP reports. Breakaway Amish sect leader Sam Mullet, four family members, and others were taken into custody after agents raided their compound in Bergholz. The men are charged with cutting Amish people’s beards and hair, a major offense in a community that believes the Bible instructs women and men to let their locks grow, USA Today notes. They face up to 10 years in prison.
It’s believed the hair-cutting was a response to Mullet’s excommunication by Amish leaders, who were concerned about sexual conduct in his church, the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette reports. For his part, the leader said he “didn't order anything like” the hair-cutting, but "I didn't tell them not to."