The leader of 16 Amish men and women found guilty of hate crimes for cutting the hair and beards of fellow members of their faith has lost another request to be released from prison.
CLEVELAND - A bishop testifying against 16 fellow Amish in Ohio said his chest-length beard was chopped to within 1 1/2 inches of his chin in a late-night home invasion.
Forty-six-year-old Myron Miller of Carrollton told a federal court jury in Cleveland on Thursday that he felt humiliated by the attack last Oct. 4. His beard has grown back nearly to mid-chest.
Hair and beards have spiritual significance in the Amish faith. Amish men do not shave their beards after marriage, believing it signifies their devotion to God.
The defendants say the beard-cuttings reflected church discipline amid a feud over church practices.
Under cross-examination, Miller testified that discipline "should simply be Scriptural, out of love." His Amish community was involved in a long-running dispute with the alleged ring leader of the beard-cutting band.