Bergholz: Amish 'manage' while some are in jail

7:37 PM, Jan 2, 2013   |    comments
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BERGHOLZ -- In just one month's time, the 16 Amish men and women convicted of federal hate crimes are set to be sentenced in Cleveland.

But out here in Bergholz, it's their families who are trying to prepare for a future with or without them.

Nine men are already behind bars; another man and six women are out on bond now. They all face an uncertain future.

The clan was convicted in a spree of hair- and beard-cutting incidents that took place in the fall of 2011.

In a recent New York Times jailhouse interview, Samuel Mullet, the accused ringleader, says he's not responsible.

"I guess I didn't want my beard cut off, and that probably would have happened if I had tried to stop them," he said. "The only thing I did wrong was that I didn't tell them to stop."

His wife Martha Mullet says the families hope for leniency.

"We are praying that God will send another miracle," she says.

Some in the nearby "English" community agree.

"They've done enough time, I think. Let them get back, take care of their families and get on with their lives," said Ray Cheuvront, a Jefferson County resident who knows some of the Amish.

Six mothers jailed could leave 47 children looking for care.

"These kids have really stepped up. You see these boys doing men's work all over on the farms. They'll get along," said Cheuvront.

And Mullet will still reign.

"No matter if he gets life in prison, he will still be our bishop here," Wilma Mullet, his daughter, told the Times.

While the Mullet, Miller and Schrock families didn't want to talk on camera, they did tell Channel 3 News the workload has increased on everyone.

But they say they are healthy, making do, and, most importantly, surviving.

U.S. District Judge Daniel Polster set sentencing for Feb. 8. There are no mandatory minimum sentences for these crimes but sentencing guidelines would give each defendant between 210 months to life in federal prison.  

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