The arrest warrant for St. Paul Church Priest Father Michael Miller details allegations of an ongoing, lurid relationship between Miller and a 13-year-old boy that was conducted through Facebook and text messaging.
Miller, dressed in a yellow shirt and khakis and sporting a full red beard, pleaded not guilty in a court appearance on Tuesday, Aug. 16, where his arrest warrant was ordered unsealed. He was arrested last month and charged with five felony counts of risk of injury to a minor and a misdemeanor obscenity charge.
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, which is located in Kensington. The woman told police that her son had become uncomfortable with the correspondence on Facebook and text messages from Father Michael 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 a still-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.
Attorney William St. John represents Miller, who is currently suspended from his church duties. Miller is due back in court on Sept. 15.
St. Paul's pastor Father Robert Schlageter had no comment but said the church has been getting help from other friars and priests to overcome the loss of Father Michael. This excerpt appears on the church's website:
The Army has arrived.
These past four weeks and 5 days, some of you have noticed visiting priests. That’s because just like a family, our friars flock to help each other whenever there is a need.
Fr. Mark Szanyi came from Florida for a couple of days. Fr. Thomas from Rome was here for a while, Fr. Herman came back to help out, Fr. Mark has said a couple of Masses and now Fr. Noel will be here until September 1st to help us during the week.
Please welcome them and thank them for their presence. Everyone needs a Helping Hand.