After a man was accused of raping a teen girl, he accepted a plea deal after facing 64 counts of sexual abuse of children. The judge sentenced him to 1 year deferred with unsupervised probation as part of the deal. However, the charge could “fall off” his record for a disturbing reason.
William Edward Miller Jr. made a name for himself in Minnesota long before his trial ever came to a close. The 51-year-old was first placed at the center of an investigation after a 14-year-old girl came forward with shocking allegations of sexual abuse.
According to the Great Falls Tribune, the teen girl confided in a teacher at C.M. Russell High School that Miller raped her. The student reported that Miller would sometimes visit her family home and always made her feel uncomfortable. She claims that he ultimately picked the lock to her bedroom door, forced her to remove her clothing, and covered her mouth so she couldn’t scream as he raped her.
The allegations took an even more sinister turn when the girl claimed that Miller coerced an 11-year-old boy to rape her as well. Court documents confirmed that the girl told her father about the rape, but she refused to write out a statement because Miller allegedly threatened to kill her and her family if she reported him. After an investigation concluded that the 11-year-old boy lied to the police interviewer several times and appeared to have been coached on how to answer detectives, Miller was arrested with a $200,000 bond.
However, his disturbing behavior didn’t cease even after he was detained. Miller reportedly made several phone calls from jail asking friends to destroy his phone. A detective later received an anonymous phone call claiming that an unidentified woman asked for a ride to Miller’s house in Neihart to collect his phone and computer. The woman denied this claim but later admitted that she and Miller recorded sex acts between them and that they may be found on his devices.
After seizing his devices, detectives uncovered sexual images of the unnamed woman from before she was 18 along with other images of minor children engaging in sex acts and thousands of images relating to bestiality, KULR reports. Detectives also discovered a search history for bestiality and horses for sale on the woman’s phone.
Miller was charged with 64 felony counts of child sex abuse, including rape and possession of child pornography. However, he was granted a plea deal that dismissed all but two charges, which included felony sexual abuse of children and misdemeanor unsworn falsification to authorities. As such, the court showed Miller unbelievably leniency.
Cascade County District Judge Elizabeth Best sentenced Miller a 1-year deferred sentence with unsupervised probation, which means that as long as Miller doesn’t break any law over the next year, the conviction will “fall off” his record. He would also be able to petition to be removed from the sex offender registry.
Judge Best reiterated that she couldn’t sentence Miller on charges that couldn’t be proven, which included the rape allegation.
“I think it’s really easy and it’s easy for courts, from the bench, to use these offenses as an opportunity to grandstand and to make statements for the newspaper and TV,” she said. “They’re very, very loaded charges. They’re very difficult charges to defend against.”
Disturbingly, Miller married a 19-year-old woman, who was one of the minors in the photographs that earned him his conviction. The woman has stood in defense of her husband, insisting that he is a “kind, compassionate, empathetic man” and that she was in no way “manipulated or controlled” by him when she was underage. Miller complained that the conviction “destroyed” his life and that he is a good person but has “really bad luck.”
The charges against Miller are beyond disturbing. Unfortunately, the judicial system isn’t always equipped to ensure that society is protected. Thanks to the court’s flaws, this story may be the only way that citizens are informed of the potential danger he poses.