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Amish Hate-Crimes Leader Sentenced to 15 Years in Prison E-mail
Written by Don Byrd   
Friday, 08 February 2013

A judge in Ohio reminded convicted Amish hate-crimes leader Samuel Mullet, Sr. that the First Amendment has helped protect that religious community, but insisted it did not allow him to traumatize members of that faith he deems insufficient. Sentenced to 15 years in prison, Mullet insisted he was not a cult leader, and the actions of his followers - forcibly cutting off beards of others in the community - did not rise to the level of a hate crime. The judge disagreed.

"The victims were terrorized and traumatized," U.S. District Court Judge Dan Aaron Polster said in sentencing leader Sam Mullet Sr., 67, who sat without emotion.

The judge said the defendants had violated the constitutional rights protecting religious practice that had benefited them as Amish — such as an exemption from jury service and allowing Amish children to leave school at age 14.

"Each of you has received the benefits of that First Amendment," Polster said.

 AP reported an appeal from Mullet's attorneys is likely.

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