CLEVELAND -- Defense attorneys have lost the battle to keep Amish sect leader Samuel Mullet Sr's "sexual counseling of women" out of his upcoming trial.
Attorney Edward Bryan had filed a motion Aug. 13, asking U.S. District Judge Dan Polster to prohibit references to the sexual conduct in the trial scheduled to begin Monday (Aug. 27).
Mullet is not charged with any sex-related incidents.
Polster ruled against Bryan's motion Monday and said prosecutors are allowed to question witnesses about Mullet's sexual activities with married women when Mullet, 66, of Bergholz, and 15 other Amish go on trial next week.
The motion read, in part, "...the government should not be permitted to use, introduce, or reference allegations of sexual conduct unrelated to the substantive charges. The government intends to introduce allegations of sexual conduct, vaguely referenced in the superseding indictment: "At all times relevant to this indictment, Samuel Mullet, Sr., misappropriated the wives of other members of the Community and "counseled" them on how to be sexually satisfied in their marriages. To this end, the women were expected to leave their husbands and children and live in Samuel Mullet, Sr.'s, house where they were further expected to be sexually intimate with him. The women who disobeyed or resisted this practice were ostracized from the Community....These allegations of sexual conduct are irrelevant to the present charges, and thus inadmissible..."
Prosecutors expect to call several witnesses who will testify to having had sexual relations with Mullet.
Mullet and his followers are accused of ordering a series of beard- and hair-cutting attacks on his religious enemies last year.
Prosecutors say Mullet was a bishop within the sect and used the sexual counseling sessions to control his flock, and that led to disagreements by his followers which provided the motivation behind the hair-cutting assaults.
Seven Amish men had their heads and beards shaved and several Amish women had their hair cut by Mullet's followers.