4 denied bond in Amish beard cutting case

Samuel Mullet Sr. is the leader of the break-away Amish sect.

Story highlights

  • Another son and two others will appear Friday
  • Defendants "forcibly restrained ... Amish men and cut off their beards," officials say
  • Officials: Several of the defendants have confessed to local investigators

Four members of a break-away Amish group charged with hate crimes were denied bond Wednesday.

Sect leader Samuel Mullet Sr., along with two of his sons and his son-in-law, appeared in court in Youngstown, Ohio, for an arraignment hearing.

The judge ordered them held, calling Mullet a danger to the Amish community.

Another of Mullet's sons and two others will appear Friday.

The seven are accused of shaving the beards and cutting the hair of individuals who refused to support Mullet.

The men who were allegedly attacked are believed to be former members of Mullet's group who left over various disagreements. Mullet wanted to "seek revenge and punish the departing families," federal documents in the case said.

"In doing so, the defendants forcibly restrained multiple Amish men and cut off their beards and head hair with scissors and battery-powered clippers, causing bodily injury to these men while also injuring others who attempted to stop the attacks," the Justice Department said. "In the Amish religion, a man's beard and head hair are sacred."

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The seven men were arrested as part of a raid on Mullet's 800-acre compound that went down "without incident" last week, officials said.

Mullet's sect is made up primarily of his relatives living on and around the compound in a remote valley outside Bergholz, Ohio, officials say.

Five of the men were arrested in October on charges of kidnapping and burglary stemming from an incident at the home of Myron and Arlene Miller in early October in which a group of men pulled Myron Miller out of the home by his beard, held him down and cut off large portions of the beard.

The incident at the Millers' home was one of a handful of incidents in several counties in which as many as 30 men and women carried out similar attacks, Jefferson County Sheriff Fred Abdalla said.