Ohio sheriff: Castoffs are attacking fellow Amish

October 6, 2011 - 1:05 PM

STEUBENVILLE, Ohio (AP) — A sheriff in Ohio says a group of religious castoffs has been attacking fellow Amish, cutting off their hair and beards.

Jefferson County Sheriff Fred Abdalla in Steubenville said Thursday that his deputies have been hampered by the reluctance of Amish to press charges.

His office is working with sheriffs in other counties investigating attacks. No charges have been filed, but several victims suffered minor injuries.

The sheriff says men and sometimes women from a group of families disavowed by mainstream Amish have terrorized a half-dozen or more fellow Amish. They allegedly cut the beards off men and the hair off men and women. Hair holds religious significance for the Amish.

The sheriff says the motive may be related to religious differences involving nearly 20 Amish families.