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12 Indicted In Amish Beard Cutting Crime

Mark Wilson/Getty Images

The Amish communities in the mid-west usually keep to themselves and are usually pretty peaceful folks. However in November, a rouge group of Amish that had broken away from the general population to create their own group were accused of cutting off the beards and hair of those who did not follow their teachings. Those few people of the break away group have now been indicted with the crime.

Twelve members of the group, known as the Bergholz group, have been indicted and charged with hate crimes. That may seem like a harsh charge but because it’s based on a religious belief it is considered a hate crime. Between September and November 5 Amish men and women had either their hair or beards cut off. Initially only 4 members of the group were charged, bishop Samuel Mullet and his 3 sons but as the investigation moved forward by Ohio officials more people decided to come forward and that led to more arrests and finally the 12 indictments.

In Amish culture men are clean shaven until they marry, they then grow their beard but aren’t allowed a mustache. Women do not cut their hair; it is braided or pulled up in a bun and covered with a bonnet. So to have their hair cut is a very serious religious crime against them.

This isn’t the only hair cutting that has happened either. Recently two neighbors had been quarreling, one decided to shave the tail off of the others horse. He got 10 years for that, so it will be interesting to see what those indicted will get. They not only were charged with a hate crime but also with conspiracy, assault and evidence tampering.

It may not seem much of a crime to most of us, I’ve seen some teens that I’d like to offer a pair of scissors to, but it’s not a religious belief for most of us. As I said earlier, they seem to keep mostly to themselves and seem to get along, for the most part, with the general communities that surround them. To the Amish it is quite a horrific event they are dealing with and they deserve justice.

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