FBI investigating Amish beard-cutting attacks
Authorities say there have been a handful of recent Amish-on-Amish beard-cutting attacks in several Ohio counties.
October 26th, 2011
04:28 PM ET

FBI investigating Amish beard-cutting attacks

By Chris Welch, CNN

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.

According to Jefferson County Sheriff Fred J. Abdalla, the incident at the Millers' home was one of a handful of incidents throughout several counties in which as many as 30 men and women carried out similar attacks.

Additional arrests stemming from the other attacks aren't likely, Abdalla said, because the other victims have not pressed charges. It is Amish tradition to solve conflicts by means of their faith and church, without the involvement of law enforcement.

The perpetrators are believed to be followers of a breakaway Amish group led by Sam Mullet. Of the five that have been arrested, three are Mullet's sons.

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.

Asked by CNN whether the accusations that he's behind the beard incidents were true, Mullet responded by asking rhetorically, "Beard cutting is a crime, is it?" He then denied the allegations that he's running a cult before dismissing CNN from his property.

- CNN Belief Blog

Filed under: Amish • Crime • Ohio

soundoff (291 Responses)
  1. Joe Sixpack

    I'm glad my tax dollars are paying the FBI to investigate the Amish instead of going after all the crooks on Wall Street that destroyed the world economy.

    October 26, 2011 at 5:17 pm |
    • Jason

      The Amish also pay taxes, and pursuing violent criminals is not interfering with any such investigation.

      October 26, 2011 at 5:19 pm |
    • Cindy

      The amish do not take anything from the government, they support themselves and pay all their taxes. If someone is interfering with their religion, then the FBI should investigate and do for them what they would do for you.

      October 26, 2011 at 5:25 pm |
  2. Cindy

    The Mullet family was probably shunned from the community for unorthodox amish beliefs. This proves they should not belong to the community.

    October 26, 2011 at 5:16 pm |
    • Jonathan

      Either that or their beards were all business up front but had a party in the back.

      October 26, 2011 at 5:41 pm |
  3. Matt

    I wonder if it is a federal hate crime? I don't think anyone has to agree to press charges in that instance.

    October 26, 2011 at 5:16 pm |
    • Cindy

      Of course this is a hate crime!

      October 26, 2011 at 5:26 pm |
    • Sheik Yerbouti

      He hates those beards! Stay away from the beards!!

      October 26, 2011 at 5:28 pm |
    • dirkk03

      Actually, I believe it is the less heinous ... crime of very strong dislike.

      October 26, 2011 at 7:22 pm |
    • Sheik Yerbouti


      October 26, 2011 at 7:34 pm |
  4. Mr. Mullet

    They're cutting the women's beards too? That's going too far.

    October 26, 2011 at 5:15 pm |
  5. us1776

    Just one more set of religious whacko's.


    October 26, 2011 at 5:14 pm |
    • Cindy

      No, these people don't bother anyone.

      October 26, 2011 at 5:28 pm |
    • Sheik Yerbouti

      They are bothering me right now. Oh wait, no that is you bothering me.

      October 26, 2011 at 5:30 pm |
  6. Jason

    The best part of these hair related crimes is that they're being perpetrated by a group whose leader is named "Mullet."

    October 26, 2011 at 5:14 pm |
  7. Jason

    An Amish with a 'tude? you know that's unheard of!

    October 26, 2011 at 5:12 pm |
    • CNNuthin


      October 26, 2011 at 5:16 pm |
  8. Amunaka

    Jeeeeze...you couldn't even make this stuff up...

    October 26, 2011 at 5:02 pm |
  9. Kasper

    an amish cult? is such a thing even possible?

    October 26, 2011 at 5:01 pm |
    • Jesop

      Sure is.

      October 26, 2011 at 5:03 pm |
  10. Jesop

    There's a feud a brewin!

    October 26, 2011 at 5:00 pm |
  11. v_mag

    In a totally unrelated incident, 5 Mormons in Utah have been questioned about stealing spiritual underwear from John Huntsman's clothes line. The perpetrators are believed to be followers of a breakaway lingerie group loyal to Mitt Romney.

    October 26, 2011 at 4:59 pm |
  12. Dantx10

    They have to worry about drive by shavings.

    October 26, 2011 at 4:57 pm |
    • Joe

      Good one!

      October 26, 2011 at 4:59 pm |
    • Jesop

      More like ride by shavings. Not sure how you creep on someone in a horse drawn buggy

      October 26, 2011 at 5:02 pm |
    • Fookin' Prawn

      It's hard out there for an Amish hitman; silencers on the hooves and the scissors.

      October 26, 2011 at 6:21 pm |
  13. i used to jam in Joe's garage

    This is Sofa King We Todd Head

    October 26, 2011 at 4:57 pm |
    • Sheik Yerbouti

      Funny, I used to jam in Joe's garage too!

      October 26, 2011 at 5:19 pm |
  14. Mac11

    IF your faith was being attacked, most of you a$$h0les would be screaming for justice. WOW 90% troll morons posting here.

    October 26, 2011 at 4:57 pm |
    • v_mag

      What kind of faith could someone really have who refers to other posters as " a$$h0les"? Not too pious, are you?

      October 26, 2011 at 5:06 pm |
  15. Nino Brown

    Love to see Fed dollars going to good use smh

    October 26, 2011 at 4:51 pm |
  16. Steve Clark

    Kidnapping and Burglary... Really? How much will this BS cost the tax payers?

    October 26, 2011 at 4:48 pm |
    • tayres

      Seriously? Its doesnt matter if its a beard cutting or not. Let someone storm into your house, drag you out and terrorize you and see how it feels. Tax payer dollars go to a lot worst things. If you are so worried about tax dollars complain about something worth complaining about like giving welfare to millions of people who take drugs. I have a job that if I failed a drug test I would be fired in a heartbeat, yet these people are being protected. The hard working people follow the rules, yet those on welfare who partake in illegal drugs can chill at home and live off OUR tax dollars.... Now thats something to complain about.

      October 26, 2011 at 5:01 pm |
    • AmazedinFL

      Or how about corporate welfare protecting rich companies from paying their fair share of taxes. To me, tax laws that allow a wealthy company such as Exxon, making billions of dollars in record profits, to have paid 0 in taxes last year–now THAT'S something to complain about, as you and I have to pay our share.

      October 26, 2011 at 5:09 pm |
    • v_mag

      tayres seems to be very worried about hypothetical people who are on drugs and receiving welfare paid for by taxpayers (and I've been working and paying taxes for over 40 years, so don't lump me in). At the same time, GE, Bank of America, and other corps are undeniably sponging off the taxpayers while not paying a dime in taxes. Why don't people see corporate welfare for what it is? Major league theft.

      October 26, 2011 at 5:12 pm |
    • tayres

      So very true, AmazedinFL.

      October 26, 2011 at 5:13 pm |
    • tayres

      Dont assume things v_mag. I see a lot of wrong doings I just happened to pick that one out because I was reading an article about it before I read this one. I used that as an example to show there are a lot worst things.

      October 26, 2011 at 5:16 pm |
    • Jason

      The dude was assaulted, disfigured, and humiliated. How is it a waste of time or taxpayer money to investigate and prosecute such a crime? If it's not murder it doesn't count?

      October 26, 2011 at 5:17 pm |
    • Chris R

      Tayres, I understand where you are coming from and the state of Florida agreed with you. They required *all* welfare recipients to be drug tested. It found that a shocking 2.5% of the people on welfare tested positive! And we can't forget the 2% that refused to take the test. So 4.5% of people on welfare were booted off through this fine program (the drug use rate in the population as a whole is 6%). Florida feels that they saved almost a million dollars. Woo! Of course, it looks like they will spend a lot more on that to pay for the drug tests, administration costs, and defending lawsuits. Not quite the big win you were hoping for, huh?

      October 26, 2011 at 5:33 pm |
    • Pet Sounds

      @Chris R
      I love Florida! Unprocessed psychedelic mushrooms are legal there.

      October 30, 2011 at 12:08 am |
  17. Chuckles

    I love that mullet is attacking beards

    October 26, 2011 at 4:47 pm |
    • Dan

      that is funny – i wish i would have thought of that. I think the whole case sounds hairy!!

      October 26, 2011 at 4:52 pm |
  18. Uncouth Swain

    There are moments in your life where you just have to pause at the absurd. The ti_tle of this piece is one of those moments.

    October 26, 2011 at 4:44 pm |
  19. J.W

    The FBI must be bored.

    October 26, 2011 at 4:35 pm |
    • Chris R

      So what you are saying is that the FBI should not be investigating kidnapping cases. They also shouldn't be looking into a group that is crossing state lines to commit felonies like assault. Does that sum up your position reasonably well?

      October 26, 2011 at 5:35 pm |
  20. Reality

    The Amish and Mennonites suffer from inbreeding. The Amish to Amish conflict appears to be one of its results.


    October 26, 2011 at 4:34 pm |
    • J.W

      One small group of Amish are like that. I am sure that means every single Amish person is inbred.

      October 26, 2011 at 4:39 pm |
    • Sheik Yerbouti

      Yes, in fact, every single Amish is inbred.

      October 26, 2011 at 5:20 pm |
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About this blog

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.