A leader of a breakaway Amish community in rural eastern Ohio was sentenced to 15 years in prison Friday for forcibly cutting the beards and hair of community members, Court Clerk Robert Pitts said.
Sam Mullet Sr. and 15 followers were found guilty last year of conspiracy to violate federal hate-crime law in connection with what authorities said were the religiously motivated attacks on several fellow Amish people.
Prosecutors said the 15 followers, at Mullet's instruction, shaved the beards and cut the hair of Amish people who had left his group over various religious disagreements. Five attacks happened in four eastern Ohio counties between September and November 2011.
By Dan Gilgoff, CNN.com Religion Editor
(CNN) - Rick Santorum, a conservative Catholic who is outspoken about faith-based issues, lost Catholic voters by a wide margin in Ohio on Tuesday, potentially a key factor that allowed Mitt Romney to squeak out the narrowest of victories overall in the state.
According to CNN’s exit polls, Romney took 43% of Ohio Catholics on Super Tuesday, compared to 31% for Rick Santorum, and Romney beat Santorum overall by 38% to 37%.
Read how Santorum fared Tuesday
Catholic voters accounted for a third of Ohio’s Republican electorate, the largest share of Catholics in any Super Tuesday state.
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“The margin of Romney's win among Ohio Catholics is surprising, given Santorum's traditional Catholicism,” says John Green, a political science professor at the University of Ohio. “Romney's margin among Ohio Catholics - especially in the three largest metropolitan areas - may account for his close win in Ohio.”
By Chris Welch, CNN
Bergholz, Ohio (CNN) - Aden Troyer hasn't figured out precisely how he'll tell his daughters – now 4 and 5 years old – why they're growing up without a mother.
"I've kind of held back a little bit because they are so young, and I do not want to depress them," he said from his home in north-central Pennsylvania.
Troyer, his ex-wife, Wilma, and their two children are part of the Amish faith, which includes living a simple life free of the conveniences of the modern world, like electricity and motorized vehicles.
But what happened to the Troyer family is anything but simple.
Troyer believes that he and his wife were lured into a cult made up of breakaway members of the larger Amish community near Bergholz in rural eastern Ohio. He said it was – and still is – ruled with an iron fist by his former father-in-law, Sam Mullet, a man who Troyer and others say is anything but a typical Amish leader.
Bergholz, Ohio (CNN) - Members of the Amish community in eastern Ohio are the subject of a federal investigation following a wave of Amish-on-Amish incidents, FBI spokeswoman Vicki Anderson confirmed to CNN Wednesday.
Five men have been arrested and charged with kidnapping and burglary stemming from an incident at the home of Myron and Arlene Miller in early October in which the group of men pulled Myron out of the home by his beard, held him down, and cut off large portions of the beard. An Amish man's beard is a significant symbol of his faith.
CNN's TJ Holmes spoke with Pastor Tony Scott of the Church on Strayer in Toledo, Ohio. The Church on Strayer is giving away a house on Easter Sunday.
Scott said the motives behind the free home give away are in part to bring people in to hear the message of Easter. The church has five Easter services. To enter participants must come to one of the services and fill out an application.
The church will be building the home in the Toledo area and the winner won't be able to sell the house for five years.
Scott said a committee from the church and community members will screen every application to determine a winner.
An architect is removing a design element from a new elementary school that looked liked the Christian cross.
"I actually have not noticed a cross," said Mona-Mae Mitchell. "Is that a light pole?"
Some have never noticed the design at the Toledo Public Schools' new Beverly Elementary School construction site at the corner of Glanzman Road and Detroit Avenue, the former location of old Bowsher High School.
Others say the designs look like Christian crosses.
Some call a central Ohio woman a little "nutty," but she says to use your imagination.
Michelle Phipps, of Dublin, thinks an image on a pistachio shell she found has a striking resemblance to Jesus.
A co-worker brought the nuts into the office to share with other employees. Phipps said one of the nuts stood out from the rest.
Her co-workers thought they saw some other images in the nut.
"We all started joking about it and talking about it. One thought it looked like Jason from a movie, or Freddy Kruger or George Washington. All sorts of things," Phillips said.
By Kate Bolduan and Eric Marrapodi, CNN
It was the murder of 75-year-old Tom Repchic that was the final straw for Father Greg Maturi, a Dominican priest in Youngstown, Ohio.
Repchic and his wife, Jackie, were shot near Saint Dominic's Church in September. Jackie Repchic had to have a leg amputated because of her injuries and is recovering.
"We're a very close-knit family and try to help each other out however we can. You can go to Tom for anything," said his sister-in-law Rita Blasko. "It was a terrible day. Very hard. You're trying to mourn for Tom and you still have Jackie. It's very difficult. ...We just miss him, and he will never be replaced."
Surrounded by family, the pain of their loss still evident in their faces, Blasko said, "I don't think any of us will ever get over this."
Editor's Note: This story comes from CNN Affiliate WLWT in Cincinnati, Ohio.
The Creation Museum will announce details Wednesday afternoon of its planned expansion.
Answers In Genesis, which built and operates the religious-themed attraction, plans to build a full-scale wooden replica of Noah's Ark based on biblical descriptions.
The $24.5 million project will be constructed by the same team that built the Creation Museum.
The religious ministry is soliciting online donations to help construct the project, which they expect to draw an estimated 1.6 million visitors per year.
Ken Ham, president and CEO of Answers In Genesis, cites poll data showing that an estimated 63 percent of Americans would visit a full-scale replica of Noah's Ark if one were built in the U.S.
Read the full story from WLWT.
The CNN Belief Blog covers the faith angles of the day's biggest stories, from breaking news to politics to entertainment, fostering a global conversation about the role of religion and belief in readers' lives. It's edited by CNN's Daniel Burke with contributions from Eric Marrapodi and CNN's worldwide news gathering team.