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CLEVELAND, OH (WOIO) -
A rogue Amish group convicted in a series of beard cutting attacks was sentenced to prison on Friday.
Amish beard bandit leader Sam Mullet was sentenced to 15 years in prison. The judge said Mullet is a danger to the community due to the control he has over his followers. The judge mentioned jail house tapes of the Amish group joking about the beard cutting attacks, and said more would happen.
15 other members of Mullet's group got a lesser prison sentence of one to seven years behind bars.
During sentencing, Mullet told the judge that if he is a cult leader, then he should be the only one punished. Mullet says he is an old man and his words are being twisted in court.
Mullet said his only mission in life is to help the young people in his community. His lawyer said his client is not a danger to the community.
The vicious attacks happened in Jefferson, Trumbull, Holmes and Carroll Counties. Prosecutors say Sam Mullet ordered the violent hair cuts. The attacks were meant to humiliate and punish the people Mullet did not believe are faithful enough.
The rogue group forcibly restrained multiple Amish men and cut off their beards and head hair with scissors and battery-powered clippers, causing bodily injury to these men while also injuring others who attempted to stop the attacks. In the Amish religion, a man's beard is considered sacred.
A number of people in the Amish community penned letters, urging the judge to impose a strict sentence for Mullet and his followers.