12 charged over Amish race hate crimes

 

Twelve members of a breakaway Amish group have been charged with hate crimes following beard-cutting attacks on fellow sect members in eastern Ohio.

The seven-count indictment against Samuel Mullet and 11 relatives or members of his group include charges of conspiracy, assault and evidence tampering in what prosecutors say were hate crimes motivated by religious differences.

The five attacks between September and November involved cutting women's hair and men's beards and hair - considered deeply offensive in Amish culture.

The indictment also charges four of Mullet's children, a son-in-law, three nephews, the spouses of a niece and nephew and a member of the Mullet community.

Mullet and six of the suspects have been in custody since their arrests in FBI raids on November 23 at the Mullet compound.

The five new suspects would be issued summonses to appear in court, said US attorney's spokesman Mike Tobin.

The indictment also mentions a pair of previously unreported assaults. It says that on September 24, at the home of one of the defendants, another provided an unnamed victim with a cup of coffee "laced with an over-the-counter product" intended to sicken the victim. It did not specify which product was used.

It also says that on the same day, three of the defendants and others enticed the victim to take a walk around the property, then restrained him and cut off his beard and hair with scissors.

Mullet said in October that he did not order the hair-cutting but did not stop his sons and others from carrying it out. He said the goal was to send a message to other Amishthat they should be ashamed of themselves for the way they were treating Mullet and his community.

The others charged previously are Mullet's sons Johnny, Daniel and Lester; son-in-law Emanuel Schrock; nephew Eli Miller; and community member Levi Miller.

Newly charged are Mullet's daughter Linda Schrock; nephews Lester and Raymond Miller; Anna Miller, the wife of another nephew; and a niece's husband, Freeman Burkholder.

An FBI affidavit said three of Mullet's sons and a nephew and another community member had confessed in early October to taking part in at least a couple of the attacks.

Several members of the group carried out the attacks by forcibly cutting the beards and hair of Amish men and women and then taking photos of them, authorities said.

The Amish believe the Bible instructs women to let their hair grow long and men to grow beards and stop shaving once they marry.

Amish often mete out their own internal punishment and rarely report crimes to police. Some beard-cutting victims declined to press charges earlier.

The dispute with Amish bishops stemmed from Mullet's desire to excommunicate several members, the FBI said. Other bishops concluded the excommunications were not consistent with Amish teachings and scripture and decided not to recognise the penalties.

Ohio has an estimated Amish population of just under 61,000 - second only to Pennsylvania - with most living in rural counties south and east of Cleveland.

:: A man cleaning his muzzle-loading rifle shot the gun into the air, accidentally killing a 15-year-old Amish girl driving a horse-drawn buggy more than a mile away, a sheriff said.

Rachel Yoder was shot in the head last Thursday night while returning to her home after a Christmas party for employees at an Amish produce farm.

The buggy continued to carry the girl after she was shot and she fell out near her home, Holmes County sheriff Timothy Zimmerly said.

Her brother found her after he saw the horse walking in circles. Authorities initially believed she had fallen out of the buggy and hit her head until a hospital test revealed the gunshot wound.

Sheriff Zimmerly said the gun-cleaner's family came forward and his neighbours reported hearing a shot at about the time the girl was wounded. Investigators were checking the rifle for a ballistics match.

"In all probability, it looks like an accidental shooting," the sheriff said.

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
ebooks
ebooksAn introduction to the ground rules of British democracy
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Recruitment Genius: Developer

£35000 - £40000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Are you familiar with the sayin...

Recruitment Genius: Hospitality Assistant

£6 - £8 per hour: Recruitment Genius: This care organisation take pride in del...

Recruitment Genius: Care Worker

£6 - £7 per hour: Recruitment Genius: This care organisation take pride in del...

Recruitment Genius: Marketing Assistant

£18000 - £25000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A fantastic opportunity has ari...

Day In a Page

John Palmer: 'Goldfinger' of British crime was murdered, say police

Murder of the Brink’s-MAT mastermind

'Goldfinger' of British crime's life ended in a blaze of bullets, say police
Forget little green men - aliens will look like humans, says Cambridge University evolution expert

Forget little green men

Leading evolutionary biologist says aliens will look like humans
The Real Stories of Migrant Britain: An Algerian scientist adjusts to life working in a kebab shop

The Real Stories of Migrant Britain

An Algerian scientist struggles to adjust to her new life working in a Scottish kebab shop
Bodyworlds museum: Dr Gunther von Hagens has battled legal threats, Parkinson's disease, and the threat of bankruptcy

Dying dream of Doctor Death

Dr Gunther von Hagens has battled legal threats, Parkinson's disease, and the threat of bankruptcy
UK heatwave: Temperature reaches 39.8 degrees on Central Line - the sweatiest place in London

39.8 degrees recorded on Tube

There's hot (London) and too damn hot (the Underground). Simon Usborne braved the Central line to discover what its passengers suffer
Kitchens go hi-tech: From robot chefs to recipe-shopping apps, computerised cooking is coming

Computerised cooking is coming

From apps that automatically make shopping lists from your recipe books to smart ovens and robot chefs, Kevin Maney rounds up innovations to make your mouth water
Jessie Cave interview: The Harry Potter star has published a feminist collection of cartoons

Jessie Cave's feminist cartoons

The Harry Potter star tells Alice Jones how a one-night stand changed her life
Football Beyond Borders: Even the most distruptive pupils score at homework club

Education: Football Beyond Borders

Add football to an after-school homework club, and even the naughtiest boys can score
10 best barbecue books

Fire up the barbie: 10 best barbecue books

We've got Bibles to get you grilling and smoking like a true south American pro
Wimbledon 2015: Nick Bollettieri - Junk balls and chop and slice are only way 5ft 1in Kurumi Nara can live with Petra Kvitova’s power

Nick Bollettieri's Wimbledon Files

Junk balls and chop and slice are only way 5ft 1in Kurumi Nara can live with Petra Kvitova’s power
Ron Dennis exclusive: ‘This is one of the best McLaren teams ever – we are going to do it’

‘This is one of the best McLaren teams ever – we are going to do it’

Ron Dennis shrugs off a poor start to the season in an exclusive interview, and says the glory days will come back
Seifeddine Rezgui: What motivated a shy student to kill 38 holidaymakers in Tunisia?

Making of a killer

What motivated a shy student to kill 38 holidaymakers in Tunisia?
UK Heatwave: Temperatures on the tube are going to exceed the legal limit for transporting cattle

Just when you thought your commute couldn't get any worse...

Heatwave will see temperatures on the Tube exceed legal limit for transporting cattle
Exclusive - The Real Stories of Migrant Britain: Swapping Bucharest for London

The Real Stories of Migrant Britain

Meet the man who swapped Romania for the UK in a bid to provide for his family, only to discover that the home he left behind wasn't quite what it seemed
Cheaper energy on the way, but it's not all sunshine and rainbows

Cheaper energy on the way, but it's not all sunshine and rainbows

Solar power will help bring down electricity prices over the next five years, according to a new report. But it’s cheap imports of ‘dirty power’ that will lower them the most