The leader of an Amish breakaway group who allegedly forced his victims to sleep in a chicken coop has been convicted of planning hate crimes by cutting the beards of community members in night time attacks.

Fifteen members of Samuel Mullet Sr's Amish breakaway group in Ohio have been found guilty of hate crimes.

Mullet has been found guilty of planning the attacks, where one Amish bishop was dragged out of his farm house and his chest-length beard was shorn.

Court documents show victims' claims that Mullet was trying to seek revenge on families who left his breakaway group and were accepted into Amish communities. Amish men do not cut their beards for religious reasons.

sam mullet

Sam Mullet Sr stands in the front yard of his home in Bergholz, Ohio


They state that Mullet "has forced extreme punishments on and physical injury to those in the community who defy him, including forcing members to sleep for days at a time in a chicken coop on his property." They also claim he provided "sexual counselling" and allowed members of his clan "to beat other members" who showed dissent.

In 2011 Mullet told news agency AP: "You have your laws on the road and the town - if somebody doesn't obey you you punish the people? But I'm not allowed to punish the church people? I just let them run over me? If every family would do just as they pleased what kind of church would we have."

"From day one, this case has been about the rule of law and defending the right of people to worship in peace," the US Attorney Steven Dettelbach said after the verdicts. "This was a crime of violence."

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  • Amish

    An Amish woman leaves the U.S. Federal Courthouse in Cleveland on Thursday, Sept. 20, 2012. The jury found all 16 Amish people guilty in the hair- and beard-cutting attacks against fellow Amish in Ohio. (AP Photo/Scott R. Galvin)

  • Amish

    An Amish man boards his transportation vehicle outside the U.S. Federal Courthouse in Cleveland on Thursday, Sept. 20, 2012. The jury found all 16 Amish people guilty in the hair- and beard-cutting attacks against fellow Amish in Ohio. (AP Photo/Scott R. Galvin)

  • Members of the Amish community enter the U.S. Federal Courthouse in Cleveland on Wednesday, Sept. 19, 2012. Jurors are beginning a third day of deliberations in the trial of 16 people accused of hate crimes in hair- and beard-cutting attacks against fellow Amish in Ohio. (AP Photo/Scott R. Galvin)

  • Sam Mullet

    FILE - In this Oct. 10, 2011 file photo, Sam Mullet Sr. stands in the front yard of his home in Bergholz, Ohio. In the stern, self-regulating world of the Amish, those who act out time and again by wearing the wrong clothing, going to movies or otherwise flaunting the church's doctrine can find themselves utterly alone. At the root of Amish hair-cutting attacks in Ohio and the federal hate crime trial that followed, prosecutors say, was a dispute over religious differences and a decision by Amish bishops to overrule Mullet, the leader of a breakaway group who had shunned his former followers. (AP Photo/Amy Sancetta, File)

  • An Amish man leaves the United States Court House in Cleveland Wednesday, Sept. 12, 2012. A jury heard closing arguments in a federal hate crimes trial involving 16 members of a breakaway Amish group who planned or took part in beard and hair cutting attacks last year because of disputes involving their bishop, Sam Mullet, and other Amish people. The jury begins deliberations Thursday morning. (AP Photo/Mark Duncan)

  • Amish women leave the U.S. Federal Courthouse Tuesday, Aug. 28, 2012, in Cleveland. A breakaway religious group spent months planning hair-cutting attacks against followers of their Amish faith, U.S. prosecutors said Tuesday as they laid out their case against 16 people charged with hate crimes. Such hair-cuttings are considered deeply offensive in the traditional Amish culture. (AP Photo/Tony Dejak)

  • Members of the Amish community leave the U.S. Federal Courthouse Thursday, April 19, 2012, in Cleveland. Sixteen men and women have pleaded not guilty in beard- and hair-cutting attacks against fellow Amish in Ohio. The latest indictment added new allegations that the suspects tried to hide or destroy evidence, including a disposable camera, shears and a bag of hair from the victims. (AP Photo/Tony Dejak)

  • Members of the Amish community leave the U.S. Federal Courthouse Thursday, April 19, 2012, in Cleveland. Sixteen men and women have pleaded not guilty in beard- and hair-cutting attacks against fellow Amish in Ohio. The latest indictment added new allegations that the suspects tried to hide or destroy evidence, including a disposable camera, shears and a bag of hair from the victims. (AP Photo/Tony Dejak)