Amish leader 'cleansed women of the devil'
THE leader of a breakaway Amish group, whose followers cut off the beards of his enemies, took home married women to "cleanse them of the devil in acts of sexual intimacy", according to the FBI.
Sam Mullet has been accused of ruling his community with an iron fist, making some members sleep in a chicken coop for days at a time, and allowing beatings of those who appeared to disobey him.
Mr Mullet was arrested, along with six men, including three of his sons, in a dawn raid by FBI agents at the group's 800-acre compound in a valley near Bergholz, Ohio.
The men later appeared in court charged with hate crimes that carry a maximum jail sentence of up to 10 years. A magistrate ordered them to be detained.
Mullet set up his own Amish community in 1995 and it consists mostly of his extended relatives.
Several members of his splinter group have admitted carrying out attacks on other Amish men and women over the last three months, forcefully cutting the victims' beards and hair and then taking photographs of them.
Amish people believe that the Bible instructs women to let their hair grow long, and that men should grow beards and stop shaving after they marry. Cutting off someone's hair is seen as a highly offensive act. There are 61,000 Amish people living in Ohio.
A defence lawyer for Mullet said he would fight the hate crime charges. (© Daily Telegraph, London)