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Amish 'Cult' Members Appear In Court For Beard-Cutting Attack

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Oct. 11 2011, Published 3:30 p.m. ET

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By Staff

The Amish "cult" members accused of a bizarre attack on fellow members of the religion during a home invasion appeared in court on Tuesday, has learned.

Levi Miller, 53, Johnny Mullet, 38, and Lester Mullet, 26, were arrested on Friday and charged with kidnapping and aggravated burglary after allegedly breaking into the home of a Holmes County, Ohio, Amish family and cutting off the beards of the men and the hair of both men and women, reported

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While three of his followers were in court, the leader of the 'Bergholz Clan' and father of two of the accused, Bishop Sam Mullet, argued that it is a religious matter and shouldn't be handled by the police.

Mullet said he didn't order the attack on the 74-year-old Amish man and his wife that took place last week but explained that the goal of the hair-cutting was to send a message to Amish in Holmes County that they should be ashamed of themselves for the way they were treating him and his community.

"They changed the rulings of our church here, and they're trying to force their way down our throat, make us do like they want us to do, and we're not going to do that," Mullet told the Associated Press outside his house on the outskirts of Bergholz, a village of about 700 residents in rural eastern Ohio.

As previously reported, the 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.

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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 66-year-old 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.

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"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.

According to Jefferson County Sheriff Fred Abdalla, two more men are expected to be arrested in connection with the attack in which five people were assaulted with scissors and battery-powered clippers after being told, "Sam Mullet sent us here, and we're here on religious business."

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The sheriff, who believes Mullet ordered the humiliating haircuts, confirmed that one member of the Bergholz community was allegedly locked into a chicken coop as punishment for disagreeing with the Amish Bishop.

"If he is not responsible for the attacks then we are arresting his soldiers." he said.

A similar attack took place in a nearby Trumbull County last month when 57-year-old woman blamed her sons and a son-in-law for an attack on her husband and said they were involved in a cult.



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