The Amish religion is a branch of Christianity that adheres to a doctrine of simplicity, nonviolence and forgiveness. How then did a breakaway group come to be implicated in the first federal trial to prosecute religiously motivated hate crimes within the same faith community?
From September to November in 2011, there was series of five attacks against nine Amish victims in Ohio in which their beards or hair were shorn. Some were left bruised and bloodied. Several victims had their homes invaded in the dead of night, while others were lured to a settlement in Bergholz, Ohio, and then attacked. The alleged perpetrators were from a breakaway Amish community in Bergholz, led by a bishop named Samuel Mullet. Some victims were estranged family members of the attackers, while others had crossed Mullet in some way.
State officials called on federal prosecutors to take over the case and to try the alleged perpetrators under the Shepard-Byrd Act, a federal hate crimes law. Sixteen people were c