Ohio Amish consider renegade Bergholz Clan a cult
Accused of hate-crime assaults, clan an embarrassment to peaceful AmishBy Sheldon C. Good Mennonite Weekly Review
In 2008, Amish families in Ohio warned their taxi driver, Robert Comer, to stay away from Sam Mullet, leader of the group now infamous for beard- and hair-cutting attacks.
“Many of the Amish families told me I may get a call from someone down in Bergholz,” the town near Mullet’s compound, Comer said. “They told me they believed there was a cult there.”
A few months later, Mullet called, asking to be driven to a horse auction. After some discernment, Comer agreed.
“I had to go check it out, because if it’s true [that Muller operated a cult] there could be a lot of people down there who were being harmed, mentally and physically,” said Comer, 64, of Magnolia, Ohio.
Comer has a history of investigating complex situations.
From 1967 to 1969, he served in a top secret intelligence role with the U.S. Navy in Germany. He then spent 22 years in the U.S. as a professional investigator who was sometimes asked to testify in criminal trials.
Comer noticed nothing unusual about Mullet on the drive to the horse auction. But on the next trip with Mullet, to the chiropractor, Comer “saw things that were not right.”
As he recalls, eight men and women in their 20s came out of Mullet’s house and got into the taxi van — men in the back, women up front. Mullet sat in the front seat next to Comer.
During the half-hour journey, the men sat in silence as Mullet talked and joked at length with the women. Meanwhile, Comer, who knows German from his Navy days, eavesdropped.
“Right away, I started to see what I had been warned about, that this was a cult,” he said.
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