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Prison Terms for Amish Convicted of Hate Crimes

CLEVELAND (CN) - A group of 16 Amish men and women who shaved the heads and beards of other members of their community received prison sentences Friday for their hate crimes.

Samuel Mullet Sr., the 67-year-old bishop of an Amish community in Bergholz, Ohio, was identified as the group's ringleader. He received the longest sentence at 15 years.

Since Amish cannot operate motor vehicles, they hired drivers to transport them to the homes their perceived religious enemies. Once there, they used scissors or batter-powered clippers to forcibly shave the beards of men and the hair of women.

"During each assault, the defendants restrained and held down the victims," according to the December 2012 indictment. "During some of the assaults, the defendants injured individuals who attempted to intervene to protect or rescue the victims."

The jury heard testimony that the assaults constituted hate crimes because the manner in which men wear their beards and women wear their hair in the Amish community are considered symbols of their faith. They found the group guilty of hate crimes and individual assaults in September 2012.

In addition to those charges, Samuel Mullet Sr. had been convicted along with two others, Lester Mullet and Eli Miller, of concealing evidence, including a camera and photographs of the attacks.

Lester Mullet, 28, of Hammondsville, Ohio, and Miller, 54, each received seven-year sentences. The same punishment was ordered against Johnny S. Mullet, 39, and Eli M. Miller, 33.

Five-year sentences were handed down to Daniel S. Mullet, 38; Lester Miller, 38; and Emanuel Schrock, 44.

Raymond Miller, 28, of Irondale, Ohio, and Linda Shrock, 45, both received two-year sentences.

Freeman Burkholder, 32, of Irondale; Anna Miller, 33; Elizabeth A. Miller, 38, of Irondale; Emma J. Miller, 38; Kathryn Miller, 23, of Irondale; and Lovina Miller, 33, all received a sentence of one year and one day.

Unless otherwise noted, all of the defendants are from Bergholz.

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