Sam Mullet sentenced to 15 years

Sentences have been given in the Amish beard-cutting case:

The leader of a dissident Amish sect was sentenced to 15 years in prison on Friday for a series of bizarre beard- and hair-cutting attacks on other Ohio Amish that drew national attention.

Samuel Mullet Sr., 67, the leader, was sentenced in Federal District Court in Cleveland, for coordinating assaults that prosecutors argued were motivated by religious intolerance. Fifteen of his followers, including six women, were given lesser sentences ranging from one year and one day to seven years by Judge Dan Aaron Polster.

Read the rest here.

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    1. Jean Junkin

      Samuel Mullett Sr.

      I’m glad they gave him 15 years. I only wish they would have given him more. I don’t know his age, but possibly he will be elderly when he gets out.

      1. Ed

        You wish he was given a longer sentence?

        He is guilty of directly some of his followers to cut beards, which they did in a zealous fashion. Which somehow was conflated into a “hate crime” even though all involved are of Amish heritage.

        I don’t think anyone can be happy with this sentence. I don’t think long incarceration for him and other followers (combined total of the sentences is nearly 100 years) serves any purpose, other than to burden taxpayers with more.

        This kind of case would have been ideal for alternative sentencing or some manner of restorative justice. The judge could have even ordered Sam Mullet’s beard to be shorn off. Unfortunately, the Federal system apparently does not allow for such flexibility, and pigeonholed this case into a hate crime. I think this case speaks more of the vagaries of our justice system than about the severity of the crime.

        1. Dirk

          Dear Ed
          To have some thugs break into your house, to grab you and forcibly hold you down in front of your terrified wife and kids and to then brutally, cut, rip, tear your beard off, is not a minor event. It is a trumatic physical assult of the worst kind and was intended to be a spiritual rape of their masculinity.
          Sam M. should have got life without parole or whatever sentence physical rapists get.

          1. Sherry Kross

            So I'm confused about this!

            So I’m a little confused as to who did what to who! Surely the Bishop didn’t cause harm to his own people! So can you please explain to me what happened that the Amish man got sentenced? Thank you!

            1. Sherry

              So after reading more I understand better of what this is all about! So the Bishop went into peoples homes or had other people go in & cut mens beards off & raped the daughter-in-law! He must be really a crazy man to do this to his own people! Sounds like he got what he deserved if not more! The Lord will judge him also, doubt that he’ll be standing before the Lord on that day & receive any rewards for doing good deeds! Sounds like he’s right where he belongs!

    2. Alice Mary

      “Testimony also detailed how Mr. Mullet pressured married female followers to have sex with him, including a daughter-in-law”

      I wasn’t really aware of this, but it seems like it could be another trial in the making (though I wonder if the women would be able to, or choose to, speak out against their Bishop). I doubt it would happen.

      I wonder what will happen when Mr. Mullet passes on—someone else will need to be chosen as Bishop. I can only wonder if the new Bishop would be worse than the current incarcerated one.

      This seems like another “Never ending story”! I’m certain we haven’t heard the last of it.

      Alice Mary

      1. Ed

        It take two to tango, as they say.

        Sam Mullet apparently has quite a way with people: he convinced his “followers” to break into to others’ houses, shave beards/hair of family members, and even convinced married women and his daughter in law to forsake their vows and have sex with him.

        I think the too-easy way to explain this is to say that Sam Mullet is an evil cult-leader.

        But that would presume that his followers are mindless automatons. They’re not. They’re humans. And they have to take some responsibility for their own behavior. Real obvious stuff, like not fornicating with a stranger for “marriage counselling,” and not shaving a family member’s beard based on someone else’s command.

        Apparently quite a few did leave Mullet’s church district in the years previous to this. Unfortunately those involved is this case did not exercise such independent thought.

        There are other frustrating cases in which a person continually makes decisions that will lead to his or her own harm. Such as a domestic violence victim who repeatedly returns to her attacker; or an alcoholic who inevitably winds up back at the bar.

        The tendency in our culture in such circumstances is either to blame someone or to infantilize him; categorize people as victims or perpetrators. Perhaps a better way to categorize them would be humans. And perhaps better to focus not on the obviously “evil” people like Sam Mullet or Adolf Hitler. But rather examine why dozens (or millions) blindly follow such individuals who obviously are out to cause massive harm.

        1. Alice Mary

          Ed, you probably never were indoctrinated into a cult (or religion) since childhood, being taught (by people you love and trust, like your family) that you would be doomed to Hades if you strayed from their rules. For people like that, especially those FAR removed from the outside world (in a cult, for example), you would not be so inclined to disobey or escape.

    3. Wanda D

      Being that he’s 67 years old, he may never see outside the prison walls again. But what gets me is he was supposedly Amish, but they don’t believe in sex outside of marriage, and especially with numerous ladies as the testimony stated.But his daughter-in-law…? How low can a person stoup? Obviously pretty low… Maybe he just acted Amish thinking me wouldn’t be persecuted for his devilish deeds and get by with them.

    4. Mary Yoder

      Sam Mullet

      Hello, Lets not forget that Sam was a very sick man, and NOT Amish or English, just evil and sick. Please do not judge the whole tree for a few apples, I hope there are some good people among that bunch.Even if he dressed Amish, if he acted like that I would say he had no title except sick. The new bishop will hopefully be a Christian man and if they can ourge the devils hold on the ones that were affected, maybe they can go on a changed community. I am also glad he got a long sentence, justice for what he did, and God can do the rest.

    5. Mary Yoder

      Sam Mullet

      sorry I meant purge, not ourge…

    6. Forest

      I agree with Mary. Sadly, most outsiders will not understand that this behavior is very atypical and will believe that this sort of thing goes on commonly in Anabaptist communities. A very unfortunate situation on many levels…

    7. Loretta T

      Sam Mullets sentence

      It seems,now, that too much focus has being placed on the Amish. Twenty yrs ago very little was heard in regard to their activities,such as family matters, religion, etc.
      Now, whether it is because the English has become so fastinated with the Amish lifestyle or what, we are being bombarded with novels,newspaper articles, and worst of all, the terrible TV showes.
      Even in our church library I see numerous books on the Amish. Most of them are a romantic story with a good Christian base but it’s still a “moneymaking idea” using what knowledge they have on the Amish. Sadly to say, many of the novels aren’t very accurate as to the Amish sects livelyhood. And, for those who aren’t farmiliar with the Amish, they will believe what they read.
      I believe the biggest disgrace to the “Amish” name is the TV programs that are being aired now.

    8. Carolyn B

      Erik, thanks for providing a link to the original news article. Statements in said article explain to me why fourteen letter-writers begged for a life sentence for Mullet.

      I agree with other commenters that this man’s actions have shown he may be Amish by birth but not by deed.

    9. Dave


      15 years seems sever for leading a ring of beard cutters. He may be guilty of other crimes, but that is a seperate matter. We should pray for those under his control.

    10. I happen to be in Holmes County right now. Today I asked a numer of people for their reaction to Mullet’s sentence. So far the general and sometimes literal sentiment is “satisfied”. Also “he had to be stopped”.

    11. I agree with some of the posters here, Do not judge the whole tree based on a few dropped apples that have already been bruised and diseased. The recent fascination on the Amish is intriguing but also very misguided, I am sure they would prefer to be well left alone. I believe that the LoRd will use this situation to hopefully open the eyes and hearts of those that were in this guys sect, so they can come to know the TRUTH of who they are and what the BIBLE says. What this man orchestrated was wrong and yes he should be punished, he is not an exemption of the rule just because he states to be Amish and a supposed Bishop. The LoRd has a way of exposing the lies and untruths, and we must look at what transpired with as a learning lesson to always be mindful of how we ourselves go about behaving or objectifying others .

    12. Jennifer

      He got a good sentance .

      Belive he wasnt amish or christian or even a man of god . He got a good sentance an may not even live to see the outside world agains . I believe its not fair to the victims to have suffer the actions of them people an hopefully the people who caused it will be forced to stay away from people they hurt so badlys .

    13. Liz

      A crazy, violent guy got sent to jail for a long time. Wish it would happen more often, Amish or not.

    14. KimH

      I live in the Cleveland Oh area and I was surprised not to heart much on the sentencing. I still havent heard much more than what I’ve read here.

      Unless he gets out early for good behavior, I cant imagine he’ll see the light of day outside prison walls again. For people who live a life very much outdoors, to be locked up for 15 years in a cell is enough to steal the life-force from anyone.

    15. MJ McEvoy

      Beard Cutters Not Amish

      Here is an article from Mennonite World Review with comments by Donald Kraybill, who was a cultural witness at the trial.