The leader of a dissident Amish sect was sentenced on Friday to 15 years in prison for a series of bizarre beard- and hair-cutting attacks on other Ohio Amish that drew national attention.Could abortion criminalizers who justify their violent actions with their own twisted interpretations of religious text, be prosecuted for their hate crimes against women who choose to terminate a pregnancy, and their health care professionals who provide medical support?
Samuel Mullet Sr., 67, the leader, was sentenced in Federal District Court in Cleveland for coordinating assaults that prosecutors argued were motivated by religious intolerance. Fifteen of his followers, including six women, were given lesser sentences, ranging from one year and one day to seven years.
The breakaway Amish were convicted of multiple counts of conspiracy and hate crimes, which carry harsher punishment than simple assault.
Prosecutors had asked for a life sentence for Mr. Mullet. Defense lawyers claimed the government was blowing out of proportion personal vendettas that Mr. Mullet harbored against former followers and other critics, and thus did not deserve a long sentence.
[...]Judge Dan Aaron Polster told Mr. Mullet and his co-defendants that they were being punished for depriving victims of a constitutional right, religious freedom, whose fruits they enjoyed themselves as Amish through exemptions from jury service and other laws.
The trial of the 16 defendants, including three of Mr. Mullet’s sons, unveiled a tiny sect in thrall to its leader, who in the name of purity abolished Sunday church services and punished men for ogling non-Amish women by confining them to chicken coops. Testimony also detailed how Mr. Mullet pressured married female followers to have sex with him, including a daughter-in-law.
[...]In handing Mr. Mullet 15 years, Judge Polster said he oversaw his flock with “an iron hand” and that he was “a danger to the community.”
Some of the more extreme antiChoice terrorists have been brought to justice, but those who incite them to such actions, remain at large.
What if the sustained campaign of threats and legal intimidation carried on by fundamentalist christian politicians as well as failed ones like Randall Terry were scrutinized under the laws that brought Mullet to trial?
I wonder if there's a district attorney anywhere in the US brave enough to go down that road?