Egads! The Amish hair-cutting attacks discussed here and here are now being prosecuted at the federal level. The FBI raided the Berholz stronghold and arrested seven men including Bishop and purported cult leader Sam Mullet. They're charging this as a hate crime.
At a news conference Wednesday afternoon, U.S. Attorney Steven Dettelbach said religious differences should be a matter of theological debate, not disputes "resolved by late night visits to people's homes with weapons and violent attacks."
He said he does not know how often hate crimes involve intradenominational disputes.
A little more insight into why the Bergholz clan is considered a cult can also be found in the above linked article.
One of [Sam] Mullet's daughters-in-law and a former brother-in-law told investigators that Mullet controls everything that happens within the community outside Bergholz and that he allowed others to beat members of the group who disobeyed him, according to an affidavit filed in federal court Wednesday.
Mullet punished some by making them sleep in a chicken coop for days and was sexually intimate with married women in the community so that he could "cleanse them of the devil," the two said in the affidavit.
Now Mullet faces charges along with three of his sons and three other of his followers. If convicted could spend the rest of their lives in a federal chicken coop.
The criminal complaint, filed in Cleveland, charges Samuel Mullet Sr., Johnny S. Mullet, Daniel S. Mullet, Levi F. Miller, Eli M. Miller and Emanuel Schrock, all of Bergholz, Ohio; and Lester S. Mullet, of Hammondsville, Ohio, with assaulting others because of their actual or perceived religion. The maximum potential penalty for these violations is life in prison.
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