Five Amish men were arraigned today for the hair-cutting attacks discussed here. Three are sons of Bishop Sam Mullet and all five are part of the Bergholz community he leads.
The latest Amish men to turn themselves in are Daniel Mullet, 37, along with Eli Miller, 32. Also accused are Levi Miller, 53; Johnny Mullet, 38; and Lester Mullet, 26, who were arrested on Friday, Oct. 7, 2011, on charges of kidnapping and aggravated burglary. Those three originally told the Jefferson Count judge Tuesday, that they wanted Bishop Sam Mullet to decide if they should waive extradition, but later agreed on their own. The three accused were being held at the Jefferson County Justice Facility, in a segregated area, on $250,000 cash bond each, according to reports. The trio told the judge that Bishop Mullet was expected to arrive with the $750,000 cash bond needed to be freed. Bishop Mullet did show up, but did not have the money; therefore, Holmes County came and transported back to their jail, sources said.
These incidents have dragged the normally very private Amish into the media and some of them are speaking openly. Bishop Mullet, the man at the center of this dustup, has proved to be quite loquacious. His former son-in-law -- whose custody claim resulted in the SWAT at the schoolhouse incident -- has also given a lengthy statement to the press. He compared the splinter group to Jim Jones's Peoples Temple which ended in a notorious mass suicide in 1978.
"I'm not surprised if I have to call the sheriff some day and say there are a lot of dead people lying around here. That would not be a surprise to me nor would it be a surprise to the sheriff of that county," Ayden said.
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"I have enough inside information that I have no question if something is not done, there will be people that get hurt," Ayden said.
The former member says there were forced beatings, pitting one member against another.
Ayden says there is a heavy price to pay for disagreeing with Sam Mullet.
"He would take the wife from the man. The wife would have to go and live with Sam. The husband of that wife would have to go to the chicken coop or out in the barn in the middle of the winter, sometimes day and night," Ayden said.
Disturbing accusations, if true. But having read Sam Mullet's statements to the press, I'm inclined to believe it.
Mullet, 66, said the goal of the hair-cutting was to send a message to Amish in Holmes County that they should be ashamed of themselves for the way they were treating Mullet and his community.
"They changed the rulings of our church here, and they're trying to force their way down our throat, make us do like they want us to do, and we're not going to do that," Mullet told The Associated Press outside his house on the outskirts of Bergholz, a village of about 700 residents.
"We know what we did and why we did it," he continued. "We excommunicated some members here because they didn't want to obey the rules of the church."
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"You have your laws on the road and the town -- if somebody doesn't obey them, you punish them. But I'm not allowed to punish the church people?" Mullet said. "I just let them run over me? If every family would just do as they pleased, what kind of church would we have?"
His statements are very revealing. By his own admission, he sees degrading people as an appropriate corrective and goes so far as to compare that degradation to our judicial system. Actually, we English have laws against that. Also, like any classic abusers, he paints himself repeatedly as the victim.
He also seems to see kidnapping and assault as an exercise of religion rather than felonies.
Mullet said whoever is responsible for the attacks, in which a truckful of Amish men are said to approach a house and eventually attack its occupant, has religious, not criminal motivation."It's all religion," he maintained, "that's why we can't understand why the sheriff has his nose in our business. It started with us excommunicating members that weren't listening or obeying our laws. That's where it all started. I didn't know the courts could stick their nose in religion, but that seems what they did here."
For all his openness, Mullet has neither confirmed nor denied his own involvement in the hair-cutting attacks. But typical Amish fashion, the assailants were apparently quite honest and straightforward about their intentions.
After a few minutes of small talk about the weather, the men suddenly announced, "We're here for Sam Mullet to get revenge," [Sheriff Timothy] Zimmerly said.