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Ohio Amish plead not guilty in beard-cutting case

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Sixteen members of a US Amish community accused of carrying out a string of beard and hair-cuttings against religious rivals have pleaded not guilty and are set to go on trial in August.

The defendants — 10 men and six women — refused to speak to media after their afternoon hearing on Thursday over what prosecutors have called “religiously-motivated assaults” between September and November of last year.

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Their lawyers have urged their release, saying the seven who remain incarcerated — including alleged ringleader Samuel Mullet — need to get back to their families to help with the spring planting season.

“I talked with my client and she’s got other members of her family and her children planting the crops in the field,” attorney Joseph Dubyak told reporters.

Edward Bryan, Mullet’s lawyer, told Fox 8 News that he would seek to have his client released on bail.

“His family needs him home right now. This is a very busy time for Amish people. Obviously, there are a lot of fields to be plowed,” he said.

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The Amish, a close-knit Mennonite Christian community that predominantly dwells in the central US states of Ohio and Pennsylvania, shun modern conveniences such as electricity and motor vehicles.

Mullet, the bishop of the Amish community in the village of Bergholz, Ohio, has also been charged with making false statements to federal agents during the investigation.

Many of the other accused are members of Mullet’s family.

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They are accused of breaking into homes and forcibly cutting off men’s beards and women’s hair — both symbols of piety for the Amish.

The defendants allegedly used scissors, battery-powered clippers and eight-inch (20-centimeter) horse mane shears “sharp enough to cut through leather,” according to the indictment.

Some of them are also accused of concealing and destroying evidence, including a disposable camera, shears and a bag of hair from the victims.

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The trial has been set for August 27.

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… then let us make a small request. Like you, we here at Raw Story believe in the power of progressive journalism — and we’re investing in investigative reporting as other publications give it the ax. Raw Story readers power David Cay Johnston’s DCReport, which we've expanded to keep watch in Washington. We’ve exposed billionaire tax evasion and uncovered White House efforts to poison our water. We’ve revealed financial scams that prey on veterans, and efforts to harm workers exploited by abusive bosses. We’ve launched a weekly podcast, “We’ve Got Issues,” focused on issues, not tweets. Unlike other news sites, we’ve decided to make our original content free. But we need your support to do what we do.

Raw Story is independent. You won’t find mainstream media bias here. We’re not part of a conglomerate, or a project of venture capital bros. From unflinching coverage of racism, to revealing efforts to erode our rights, Raw Story will continue to expose hypocrisy and harm. Unhinged from corporate overlords, we fight to ensure no one is forgotten.

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Priest bound and gagged teen boy with masking tape and held him hostage in church’s janitor room

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A Michigan Catholic priest has been charged with one count of false imprisonment after he wrapped a teenage boy in plastic wrap and covered his eyes and mouth with masking tape, all while trapping him in the janitor's room of a church, ClickOnDetroit reports.

Rev. Brian Stanley, 57, faces up to 15 years in prison and would also have to register as a sex offender if convicted.

Stanley was reportedly entrusted by the teen's family as a counselor before the incident took place in the fall of 2013 at St. Margaret's Catholic Church in Otsego.

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Sarah Huckabee Sanders and Fox News ripped to shreds by media analyst for running state-news network briefing for Trump

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Washington Post media critic Erik Wemple unleashed hellfire on former press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders and Fox News for hiring her to deliver the White House spin for the president on their air.

Fox News, which has only modest actual news reporting outside of its opinion arm, but that's no reason to hire a liar to the network, he explained.

He cited the greatest hits from the Huckabee-Sanders show that happened less and less frequently from the White House podium. He included everything from the time she doctored a video of CNN's Jim Acosta to accuse him of assaulting a White House intern to her accusation of "fake news" to every question she didn't like.

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Brutal new recession indicator: Manufacturing sector contracts for the first time in a decade

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Warning signs keep piling up that the American economy is slowing down, if not headed for an outright recession.

CNBC reports that IHS Markit's U.S. manufacturing purchasing managers index this month contracted for the first time since September 2009.

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