A federal judge has refused to release the leader of a breakaway Amish sect from jail pending his trial in U.S. District Court in Cleveland on charges that he directed his family and followers to cut the beards from other Amish men in a religious dispute.
U.S. District Judge Dan Aaron Polster sided Wednesday with the government in deciding that Samuel Mullet Sr., 66, should remain behind bars.
Mr. Mullet contended that he is not a threat to anyone or a risk to flee, but federal prosecutors said he is a danger to the Amish community and noted that no other beard-cutting attacks have occurred since he was locked up with six others on Nov. 23.
"Samuel Mullet Sr. is primarily and ultimately responsible for this series of violent attacks," Assistant U.S. Attorney Thomas Getz said in a court motion. "They were carried out by his loyal and devoted followers, to settle his scores."
Mr. Mullet and 11 of his followers, most of them his sons and other relatives who live at his compound in Jefferson County, Ohio, appeared in court Wednesday for an arraignment on federal hate crimes charges and entered standard not guilty pleas in connection with five hair-cutting attacks across Ohio.
Trial is set for March 19.