Samuel Mullet Sr. and his followers, which include four of his seventeen children, his son-in-law and three of his nephews, are accused of hate crimes, evidence tampering, conspiracy and obstruction of justice.
Amongst the alleged crimes, Mullet Sr. is accused of sleeping with married women in order to “cleanse them” of their perceived sins, instructing his followers to shave off the beards and hair of his critics and ordering beatings.
The Church elder has denied any wrongdoing, insisting he did not order the hair cutting, although he admitted that he did not prevent it from happening either.
The men maintain they are being prosecuted as part of a government “witch hunt” and that outsiders have no right to interfere in church matters.
As RadarOnline.com previously reported, the alleged attacks took place in the heart of Ohio’s Amish country, which is home to one of the biggest populations of the religion in the U.S., and are aimed to degrade the victims without hurting them.
Mullet, the leader of the 120-strong group of followers and family members who moved to the area in 1995 from an area a hundred miles away, is upset that they have been called a cult by critics.
“We’re not a cult. We’re just trying to live a peaceful life. I was hoping I could move here, try to start a group of church people, do things in school and church the way we wanted,” said the grey-bearded leader, who claimed that he should be allowed to punish people who broke the rules of the church, just like the state punishes those who break laws.
“I just let them run over me? If every family would just do as they pleased, what kind of church would we have?” he asked.