Friday, October 28, 2011

What the Heck is Going on in Amish Country? FBI Investigating

By Allan Lengel
From an outsider’s viewpoint, the Amish are known for their food products and beards and cultural simplicity.
Now comes the FBI.
Station WKYC reports that the FBI is investigating crimes in eastern Ohio involving Amish-on-Amish incidents, including beard cutting. WKYC reported that the FBI is looking into whether hate crimes are involved with Amish members of a breakaway sect, who have disagreed with the way some Amish carry out their beliefs.
“We’re looking at any potential federal violations, specifically any civil rights violations, because we take civil rights violations as a very serious matter,” FBI Special Agent Vicki Anderson told WKYC.
“We met with local law enforcement about a week ago and made the decision to enter the case,” she said, according to the station. A number of Northeast and Eastern Ohio sheriffs were involved in that meeting.
CNN reports five men have been arrested and charged with kidnapping and burglary stemming from an October incident. Authorities allege that the group  pulled an Amish man out of his home by the beard and cut off portions of it.
CNN reports that Jefferson County Sheriff Fred J. Abdalla said that was among a handful of incidents in several counties carried out by as many as 30 men and woman.
CNN reported that the perpetrators are suspected of being followers of a breakaway Amish group led by Sam Mullet.  Three of the five men arrested are sons of Mullet.
CNN reported that “local law enforcement officials and members of the Amish community believe Mullet has created a cult and is single-handedly behind the beard cutting incidents and other crimes in recent years.”