Amish buy guns, mace as they wait for outcome of hate crimes hearing

4 of 7 arrested to appear Wednesday

YOUNGSTOWN, Ohio - Four of the seven Amish men charged with hate crimes in hair-cutting attacks against other Amish men are set to face a federal magistrate judge Wednesday afternoon.

The men are accused of cutting the beards of Amish men and the hair of Amish women.

The Amish believe the Bible instructs women to grow their hair long and men to grow long beards after they marry. Cut hair is sacrilegious.

One victim told the FBI he would rather have been "beaten black and blue than to suffer the disfigurement and humiliation of having his hair removed," according to court papers.

Sam Mullet, the leader of a breakaway Amish group, along with two of his sons, Johnny Mullet and Daniel Mullet, and another man, Emanuel Schrock, all will appear at a detention hearing scheduled for 2 p.m. at U.S. District Court in Youngstown.

The three other men arrested and charged with hate crimes will appear at their detention hearing on Dec. 3. They are Eli Miller, Levi Miller, and Sam Mullet's other son, Lester Mullet.

The detention hearing will let prosecutors argue against the release of the seven men.

Amish communities in three states are worried what will happen if the men are released on bond.

Jefferson County Sheriff Fred Abdalla said Amish in Ohio, Pennsylvania and Indiana are flooding authorities with phone calls about this case. He said they are living in fear.

"They are buying Mace, some are sitting with shotguns, getting locks on their doors because of Sam Mullet," Abdalla said.

Prosecutors say Sam Mullet allowed the beatings of those who disobeyed him, made some members sleep in a chicken coop and had sexual relations with married women to "cleanse them."

"Sam Mullet is evil," the sheriff said.

Mullet reportedly told a reporter he didn't order hair-cutting, but didn't stop his sons and others from carrying it out. He said the goal was to send a message to other Amish that they should be ashamed of themselves for the way they were treating Mullet 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 said in October to the Associated Press.

Ohio has an estimated Amish population of just under 61,000 -- second only to Pennsylvania -- with most living in rural counties south and east of Cleveland.

Some of the hair-cutting attacks occurred in Trumbull, Holmes and Carroll counties in northeast Ohio.

Authorities have said some Amish refused to press charges, following their practice of avoiding involvement of the courts.

If convicted, the seven men face up to 10 years in prison.

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