St. Paul Priest Father Michael Miller pled guilty last month to possession of child pornography, publishing an obscenity, and three counts of risk of injury to a minor in in GA 15 Courthouse and as part of the deal he made he was sentenced to five years in prison, 10 years on the sex offender registry and 20 years probation.
Miller stood in court and listened to the mother of one of his victims as she told the court her son completely trusted "Father Michael."
In a statement from the Hartford Archdiocese, Maria Zone said. "Michael Miller’s guilty plea to possession of child pornography, publishing an obscenity, and three counts of risk of injury to a minor comes after many months of personal deliberation, reflection and prayer. During this time, Miller has received medical treatment and undergone therapy.
"Two years ago, when the Berlin Police Department contacted the Archdiocese of Hartford and Miller’s Order, the Franciscan Friars Conventual, about the charges, Miller was immediately suspended from performing any priestly duties. Now that Miller has pled guilty, he will never function as a priest again. We hope that Miller’s plea will give some solace and closure to the minors he violated -- and their families.
"We will continue to pray for them so that they will continue to heal from this regrettable experience. It is important to note that the Archdiocese of Hartford and the Franciscan Friars Conventual cooperated fully with authorities and are fully committed to protecting the safety and well-being of the children of God. To report abuse of any kind, contact the Victims’ Assistance Office at the Archdiocese of Hartford at: 860-541-6491."
Miller was arrested on five felony counts of risk of injury to a minor and a misdemeanor obscenity charge and was free on $150,000 bond.
Attorney William St. John represented Miller
The arrest warrant for the St. Paul Church priest details allegations of an ongoing, lurid relationship between Miller and a 13-year-old boy that was conducted through Facebook and text messaging.
The boy's identity was redacted from the warrant.
According to the warrant, the Berlin Police Department received a complaint from the mother of a 13-year-old boy whose family members are parishioners of the church. The woman told police that her son had become uncomfortable with the correspondence on Facebook and text messages from Miller.
Police confiscated two computers from Miller, but before they could arrest him, he was flown to St. Francis Hospital on July 4 by Life Star after suffering an unspecified medical condition.
According to the arrest warrant, the conversations started innocently enough but escalated into sexual comments quickly.
The warrant states that Miller, who uses an alias on Facebook, asked the boy about his sexual preference. Miller told the boy he was bi-sexual in high school and was addicted to pornography.
When police confiscated Miller's computers, the priest admitted to texting and talking to the boy on Facebook but said that there was no actual contact.
Miller, according to the warrant, also told the boy on more than one occasion that he would like to perform sex acts on him and asked him to meet him, but the boy declined. The request to meet seems to have led to the boy to talk to his mother.