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
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
ebooks
ebooksA year of political gossip, levity and intrigue from the sharpest pen in Westminster
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: Warehouse Operations & Logistics Manager

£38000 - £42000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: One of the UK's best performing...

Recruitment Genius: GeoDatabase Specialist - Hazard Modelling

£35000 - £43000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Our award-winning client is one...

Recruitment Genius: Compressed Air Pipework Installation Engineer

£15000 - £21000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This leading provider of Atlas ...

Recruitment Genius: Operations Coordinator - Pallet Network

£18000 - £20000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Opportunity to join established...

Day In a Page

Syria crisis: Celebrities call on David Cameron to take more refugees as one young mother tells of torture by Assad regime

Celebrities call on David Cameron to take more Syrian refugees

One young mother tells of torture by Assad regime
The enemy within: People who hear voices in their heads are being encouraged to talk back – with promising results

The enemy within

People who hear voices in their heads are being encouraged to talk back
'In Auschwitz you got used to anything'

'In Auschwitz you got used to anything'

Survivors of the Nazi concentration camp remember its horror, 70 years on
Autumn/winter menswear 2015: The uniforms that make up modern life come to the fore

Autumn/winter menswear 2015

The uniforms that make up modern life come to the fore
'I'm gay, and plan to fight military homophobia'

'I'm gay, and plan to fight military homophobia'

Army general planning to come out
Iraq invasion 2003: The bloody warnings six wise men gave to Tony Blair as he prepared to launch poorly planned campaign

What the six wise men told Tony Blair

Months before the invasion of Iraq in 2003, experts sought to warn the PM about his plans. Here, four of them recall that day
25 years of The Independent on Sunday: The stories, the writers and the changes over the last quarter of a century

25 years of The Independent on Sunday

The stories, the writers and the changes over the last quarter of a century
Homeless Veterans appeal: 'Really caring is a dangerous emotion in this kind of work'

Homeless Veterans appeal

As head of The Soldiers' Charity, Martin Rutledge has to temper compassion with realism. He tells Chris Green how his Army career prepared him
Wu-Tang Clan and The Sexual Objects offer fans a chance to own the only copies of their latest albums

Smash hit go under the hammer

It's nice to pick up a new record once in a while, but the purchasers of two latest releases can go a step further - by buying the only copy
Geeks who rocked the world: Documentary looks back at origins of the computer-games industry

The geeks who rocked the world

A new documentary looks back at origins of the computer-games industry
Belle & Sebastian interview: Stuart Murdoch reveals how the band is taking a new direction

Belle & Sebastian is taking a new direction

Twenty years ago, Belle & Sebastian was a fey indie band from Glasgow. It still is – except today, as prime mover Stuart Murdoch admits, it has a global cult following, from Hollywood to South Korea
America: Land of the free, home of the political dynasty

America: Land of the free, home of the political dynasty

These days in the US things are pretty much stuck where they are, both in politics and society at large, says Rupert Cornwell
A graphic history of US civil rights – in comic book form

A graphic history of US civil rights – in comic book form

A veteran of the Fifties campaigns is inspiring a new generation of activists
Winston Churchill: the enigma of a British hero

Winston Churchill: the enigma of a British hero

A C Benson called him 'a horrid little fellow', George Orwell would have shot him, but what a giant he seems now, says DJ Taylor
Growing mussels: Precious freshwater shellfish are thriving in a unique green project

Growing mussels

Precious freshwater shellfish are thriving in a unique green project