STEUBENVILLE - The Jefferson County Sheriff's Department again is investigating a case of an Amish beard-cutting, this time on Wednesday at an Amish home off county Road 53, Bergholz.
County Sheriff Fred Abdalla said an elderly Amish man from Ashland County had been invited in writing to come to his son's house to visit the son and his family. Abdalla said he saw the elderly Amish man prior to the man going to his son's home. The sheriff said he knew the elderly Amish man hadn't seen his son in several years. Abdalla said he went to the son's home and warned the son not to cause any problems.
The sheriff said he stayed in the area near the Bergholz area Amish community, and, after about two hours, saw the elderly Amish man with his hair and beard cut off.
The Amish man said he went to his son's home and the two talked for a while. The elderly Amish man said his son then attacked him, with the help of the son's children, and wrestled the elderly man to the ground, Abdalla said. The man's beard and hair then were cut off.
The sheriff said the elderly man's wife tried to help her husband but was held back by her daughter-in-law.
Abdalla said the elderly Amish man approached him after the attack and said he was scared and upset.
"I begged him to file a complaint," Abdalla said, adding the elderly Amish man wanted to go back to his Ashland County community and consult with the community's elders.
"This is terrible. It is all supposed to be over differences of religion. There is no question this was pre-planned," Abdalla said.
Five members of the Bergholz-area Amish community were charged in Holmes County in October with kidnapping and aggravated burglary in connection with a beard- and hair-cutting incident there. Carroll County Sheriff's Department also is investigating another beard-cutting incident involving Amish men from the Bergholz area.
The FBI has become involved in the matter. Abdalla said he has been consulting with the FBI and on Monday had a meeting with agents and Holmes County Sheriff Timothy Zimmerly.
"This is an ongoing investigation," Abdalla said.
The sheriff said the beard-cutting incidents are related to Sam Mullet, the bishop of the Bergholz area Amish community, and differences he has with other bishops over the handling of church matters.
(Law can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org.)