Amish families victimized by rival sect in Ohio religious feud

USA - A feud among Amish families in Ohio that was sparked by religious differences has gotten hairy, with castoffs shearing off the beards and hair of their rivals.

Men and some women from a group of families that were disavowed by other local Amish have made the hair-cutting assaults, which are meant to be degrading, authorities told The Associated Press.

The strange attacks have taken place over the last three weeks in four Ohio counties that have the bulk of the state's Amish population, one of the largest in the United States.

Authorities said the bitter feud is likely related to unspecified religious differences involving 18 Amish families, all but one of them related by blood.

One woman in Trumbull, Ohio, said her husband's beard was clipped off on Sept. 6 by her sons and a son-in-law. She said she belives they have gotten caught up in a cult.

"They did this to me," she added, lifting up a bandana to reveal hair-less patches on her scalp.

No one has been charged in connection with the attacks.

The Associated Press reported that authorities have been hampered in their investigation by the Amish tendency to distrust law enforcement.