3 Amish men accused of cutting hair, beards of others

Four alleged attacks have taken place in an Ohio Amish community since September 6, the local sheriff says.

Story highlights

  • 3 Amish men in Ohio allegedly assaulted other Amish men, women, and children
  • The men allegedly broke into homes and cut beards and other hair
  • The men belong to an extremist splinter group, local sheriff says
Three Ohio Amish men remained in police custody Monday after allegedly assaulting other members of their local community in part by forcibly cutting off hair and beards -- a particularly egregious offense in Amish society.
Lester Mullet, 26, Johnny Mullet, 38, and Levi Miller, 53, were arrested last Friday, according to Jefferson County Sheriff Fred Abdalla.
Additional arrests are expected, Abdalla said.
Four alleged attacks have taken place since September 6, Abdalla said. The three men are accused of breaking into multiple homes and inflicting a series of cuts and bruises while forcibly cutting facial and other hair from men, women, and children.
The attacks, according to Abdalla, were instigated by an extreme Amish splinter group led by Lester and Johnny Mullet's father -- Bishop Sam Mullet.
"The leader of this group ... -- I call it a cult -- was shunned from his faith some years ago," Abdalla said in regard to Bishop Mullet. "He basically thumbed his nose" at others.
"Nothing moves in this (particular) Amish community unless (Bishop Mullet) says it moves," Abdalla said.
Amish men typically grow beards in accordance with their religious practice, according to Donald Kraybill, an Amish scholar at Elizabethtown College. Amish women often do not cut their hair, Kraybill said.
"Amish-on-Amish violence is extremely rare," Kraybill said. "This is very odd and clearly outlier behavior, an aberration in Amish society."
This "is a difficult, terrible crime," Abdalla said. "We are doing everything we can do."