The ringleader in a series of hair- and beard-cutting attacks on fellow Amish religious followers in Ohio was sentenced today to 15 years in prison. Before his sentencing, Samuel Mullet Sr., 67, denied being a cult leader but told the judge he was ready to take the punishment. The judge sentenced 15 other members of the group to prison terms ranging from one to seven years.
The defendants were charged with hate crimes because prosecutors believe religious differences brought about the attacks. "The victims were terrorized and traumatized," said US District Court Judge Dan Aaron Polster. The government said the attacks were retaliation against those who had defied Mullet's authoritarian style. Last week, Mullet's grandson said the attacks weren't hate crimes. "They got their beard back again, so what's the big deal?"