The Amish Beard cutting trial is over, and Samuel Mullet Sr. and his 15 followers have been convicted of hate crimes.
The NY Times reports that Mullet Sr. and his followers were convicted following five attacks on rival Amish groups. Mullet Sr. did not participate in the beard cutting attacks, but he did plan and encourage his followers to get revenge on rival Amish groups.
According to CBS, Mullet, his four children, and the 11 other members of the Amish sect could face 10 years or more in prison for conspiracy, evidence tampering, and obstruction of justice.
Mullet Sr. seemed to think that his group could operate outside the laws of the United States. After his arrest, Mullet said:
“You have your laws on the road and the town – if somebody doesn’t obey them, you punish them. But I’m not allowed to punish the church people?”
The Denver Post reports that the attacks resulted in hate crime charges since they were all religiously motivated. Mullet Sr. orchestrated the attacks as a way to punish other Amish groups for criticizing his rule.
During the trial, several of the victims gave their accounts of the attacks. One bishop said that he was dragged out of his farmhouse by five men one night. They then proceeded to cut his chest length beard to just an inch below his chin. A woman said that her hair was cut by her sons and a daughter who had joined Mullet’s sect.