11 responses to Bergholz Resentencing Coming Monday
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    Trish in Indiana
    Comment on A sad chapter (February 27th, 2015 at 10:46)

    A sad chapter

    The whole Bergholz affair would be a sad chapter in the life of any close-knit community and any religious group, but I would think doubly so for the Amish, who so prize nonviolence.

    Human nature being what it is, I would be surprised if Sam Mullet repents his sins and surrenders the role he’d held of so much power. However, that power comes from the willingness of people to follow him; perhaps in his absence, his former followers have come to their senses.

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      Comment on Bergholz Resentencing Coming Monday (February 27th, 2015 at 11:13)

      One would hope so. One interesting section in Renegade Amish describes Mullet’s self-depiction as a “martyr” in prison, and Kraybill suggest that this “may provide emotional energy to sustain the community for some time” (p. 155).

      If community members feel they have been wronged by the justice system (there is some evidence from members’ comments that is the case), it may only help an us-against-them spirit to persist even in the leaders’ absence.

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        Trish in Indiana
        Comment on You may be right, Erik. (February 27th, 2015 at 11:25)

        You may be right, Erik.

        I fear this may turn out to be the case. A very sad chapter indeed!

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        Comment on Agree (March 1st, 2015 at 07:06)


        I agree with the us-against-them spirit. In my experiences with many Amish and former-Amish (Swartzentruber and Old Order), I’ve experienced their militant stubbornness on particular issues.

        Living in Ohio, I know how this man and his followers have terrorized women and men of Amish. And I predict this group – once rejoined – will continue in their stubborn thinking and behaviors.

        The truly sad outcome is that his followers are religiously abused. He (as do many Amish) make Heaven or hell the result of his earthly manipulation.

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    Comment on Kraybill - Update on Bergholz Case (February 27th, 2015 at 10:59)

    Kraybill - Update on Bergholz Case

    Donald Kraybill passed along an update on this case in mid-December describing some of the legal issues involved, and I thought that might be useful to share here as well:

    Update December 12, 2014
    On August 27, 2014, three appellate court judges in a 2-1 decision overturned the hate crime convictions due to an error in the jury instructions. The other convictions (conspiracy, perjury and obstructing justice) remained intact. Surprisingly the appellate court did not address the constitutionality issues of Shepard-Byrd.

    The federal district judge had told the jury that a conviction required that a victim’s “actual or perceived religion was a significant motivating factor for a defendant’s action…even if he or she had other reasons” for attacking the victim. The appellate court opinion drew a line between religion being the primary motive and religion being a significant motive among others. Did the assailants attack “because of” the victims’ religion or was religion only one significant reason among other motives such as familial strife? The district court used a more expansive definition of motive(s) driving the Amish hate crimes. The more restrictive appellate court interpretation required that religion must be the predominant motive for a religious hate crime. The dissenting judge strongly disagreed, saying, “The overwhelming and unrefuted evidence adduced at trial demonstrates that Mullet participated in the assaults because of the victims’ religious beliefs.”

    On October 10, 2014, the prosecution petitioned the Sixth Circuit US appellate court in Cincinnati for (en banc), asking all of its judges to review the case. The legal decisions ensuing from this reversal will establish a judicial standard for how the Shepard-Byrd Hate Crimes Prevention Act is interpreted in the future for all hate crimes sparked by a victim’s gender, sexual orientation, disability, race, ethnicity, or religion. If the appellate court’s restrictive interpretation remains unchallenged, future hate crime prosecutions will require evidence of a predominant motive for attacks that cause bodily injury.

    The 6th Circuit Court declined to have all of its judges review the reversal. So on December 10, 2014 the federal judge in the US district court in Cleveland scheduled a resentencing date for February 24, 2015 [moved to March 2] for those convicted in the Amish beard- and hair-cutting case.

    New sentences are required for all of the sixteen defendants because the original sentences were based on the hate-crimes convictions. In addition to hate crimes all the defendants were convicted of conspiracy. Sam Mullet Sr., leader of the Bergholz Amish community, was also convicted of obstruction of justice and making a false statement. Eight of the defendants are out of prison.

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    Comment on Bergholz Resentencing Coming Monday (February 27th, 2015 at 14:17)

    Anyone else see some parallels of Sam Mullet and Warren Jeffs

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    Alice Mary
    Comment on Bergholz Resentencing Coming Monday (February 28th, 2015 at 16:38)

    It will be very interesting to see what happens.

    Is it just coincidence that “March Madness” is almost upon us?

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    Terry in Wisconsin
    Comment on Chasing a false profit (March 1st, 2015 at 18:18)

    Chasing a false profit

    There are many warnings in the Old and New Testaments to beware of a false profit. History speaks for itself that people were fooled and followed, and the trouble that came upon them for their decision.
    Sam Mullet is one of them and look what happened.

    Matthew 7:15-20 (NIV)

    True and False Prophets
    15 “Watch out for false prophets. They come to you in sheep’s clothing, but inwardly they are ferocious wolves. 16 By their fruit you will recognize them. Do people pick grapes from thorn bushes, or figs from thistles? 17 Likewise, every good tree bears good fruit, but a bad tree bears bad fruit. 18 A good tree cannot bear bad fruit, and a bad tree cannot bear good fruit. 19 Every tree that does not bear good fruit is cut down and thrown into the fire. 20 Thus, by their fruit you will recognize them.

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    Comment on Bergholz Resentencing Coming Monday (March 2nd, 2015 at 08:18)

    If they have stopped holding church services on a Sunday, are they now holding them on a Saturday?

    • Formal church services apparently ceased altogether

      According to the book Renegade Amish, they simply replaced church meetings altogether with meetings at Bishops Mullet’s home Sunday, Wednesday, and Friday nights. Donald Kraybill writes that “replacing regular worship services with three social meetings each week at the home of the bishop was unheard of in the Amish world,” and this “signaled a sharp break with Amish tradition” (p. 51).

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