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Amish Beard-Cutting Ring Leader Sentenced To 15 Years In Prison

Sam Mullet outside his home in Bergholz, Ohio, earlier this year.
Amy Sancetta
Sam Mullet outside his home in Bergholz, Ohio, earlier this year.

The leader of a breakaway Amish sect convicted in a series of beard-cutting attacks across Ohio was sentenced to 15 years in prison, today.

Reuters reports:

"Prosecutors had recommended a life sentence for Samuel Mullet Sr., 67, who was convicted of a hate crime in September for orchestrating attacks carried out on six Amish men and two women, though he was not present for any of them. Prosecutors said the attacks were motivated by religious disputes between Mullet and other Amish leaders.

"Fifteen of Mullet's followers in the breakaway Amish sect from Bergholz, Ohio, who were also convicted of multiple counts of conspiracy and kidnapping under federal hate crimes laws received lesser prison sentences on Friday, ranging from one year to seven years."

The New York Times reports that Mullet spoke at the federal courthouse, today. He said he was being accused of being a cult leader, which he isn't.

"If somebody needs to be punished, I'll take the punishment for everybody," he said, according to WKYC. "Let these mothers and fathers go home to their families, raise their children."

Before handing down his sentence U.S. District Judge Daniel Polster said he considered Mullet a "danger to the community."

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Eyder Peralta is NPR's East Africa correspondent based in Nairobi, Kenya.