Jailed Amish sect leader will install power lines if allowed home

Pittsburgh Post-Gazette/January 19, 2012

The jailed leader of a breakaway sect of Amish accused of orchestrating a series of beard-cutting attacks on other Amish across Ohio has again asked a federal judge to let him out pending trial, saying he'll allow electric lines to be installed at his house so that he can be monitored by the government.

Samuel Mullet Sr., 66, also said in a motion filed in U.S. District Court in Cleveland that he is not a danger to anyone and that his family in the village of Bergholz, Jefferson County, needs him to help maintain his household through the winter because the building has no central heating.

Last week, U.S. District Judge Dan A. Polster rejected a motion for pre-trial release after federal prosecutors said Mr. Mullet, under indictment on hate crimes charges with 11 of his family members and followers, was a threat to the community and a risk to flee.

Electronic monitoring is often ordered in federal cases, but it hasn't been an option because Mr. Mullet's house does not have electricity.

Mr. Mullet uses a generator for his tools and said he would allow his house to be connected to the electric grid if it means he can go home.

Ed Bryan, his public defender, argued yesterday that the Amish avoid the "negative influence and temptation" of modern appliances but are not opposed to electricity.

Mr. Bryan also said Mr. Mullet's house doesn't have heat, so it's up to him to constantly feed the wood-burning stoves throughout the home to keep it warm.

In addition, Mr. Bryan said the government's true motivation in keeping Mr. Mullet locked up is to separate him from his family and community, noting that federal prosecutors have also asked the U.S. Marshals Service to house him in a separate facility from the others charged.

The case is set for trial in March.

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