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Feb. 7, 2013 Associated Press
BERGHOLZ, Ohio — More than 50 Amish children could lose one parent to prison — and most of the youngest could lose both — on Friday when 16 men and women are sentenced in beard-cutting attacks on fellow members of their faith in Ohio.
Most defendants could face as long as 10 years in prison and are asking the judge for leniency so they can return to their homes and farms, teaching their sons a trade and their daughters how to sew, cook and keep house.
But their bid faces an uphill battle. Victims of the 2011 attacks, which the government called a hate crime and an attempt by a splinter group to shame members who left or denounced it, say justice is needed, especially for the ringleader.
In a rare interview last week in Bergholz at the community's sprawling farm amid rolling hills in eastern Ohio, unmarried 19-year-old Edward Mast, grandson of ring leader Sam Mullet Sr., said he is anticipating a life of mentoring Amish children and sharing in child-rearing if the parents go to prison.