Two years later, former Berlin priest yet to face trial
Posted: Thursday, April 25, 2013 6:00 am | Updated: 11:38 am, Thu Apr 25, 2013.
It has almost been two years since a former assistant pastor of St. Paul Church in Kensington was first arrested and charged with five felony counts of risk of injury to a minor and one misdemeanor obscenity charge.
Father Michael Miller’s case was continued for the 21st time on March 28, 2013. His next hearing is scheduled for Wednesday, May 1, in GA 15 Courthouse, at 20 Franklin Square, New Britain.
William J. St. John Jr., a Waterbury attorney who represents the former Berlin priest, said he cannot discuss any details regarding the case.
Miller was first arrested on July 12, 2011, at St. Francis Hospital in Hartford, on charges that he had inappropriate contact with more than one minor. At the time he’d been hospitalized for an unknown reason.
According to an arrest warrant, a mother noticed her 13-year-old son having what she said was a “very disturbing and inappropriate” conversation with Miller on Facebook. Police confiscated two computers from Miller’s home. Miller told police that he knew the boy was 13 and had offered to perform sex acts with the boy but he never had physical contact with him.
Miller, who was 41 at the time, was charged with five counts of risk of injury or impairing the morals of a minor and a single count of criminal attempt to obscenity. He was released after posting $150,000 bond and his first court appearance was scheduled for July 26, 2011. He pled not guilty to all charges.
The Berlin Police Department then arrested Miller a second time on June 14, 2012, on three additional charges: two counts of obscenity, possession of child pornography and 10 counts of risk of injury to a minor. The warrants were issued after analysis was done on the cellphone and two computers that were confiscated, with Miller’s consent. Miller was released on a $300,000 bail which was posted by Miller’s order, Franciscan Friars Conventual.
Director of Communications for the Archdiocese of Hartford Maria Zone said the case is currently still at status quo and there is no new development as far as she knows.
“I know investigators were doing a lot of forensics on his computer and I have not been told if the authorities are done with that,” Zone said. “I’m assuming the case is continued every time because the investigation is not complete.”
Miller has been undergoing treatment at a rehabilitation facility since his second arrest. Since the matter is personal, Zone said, she cannot comment as to what treatment he is undergoing.
“It is my understanding that (Miller) is still receiving services at a rehabilitation facility,” she said.
In 2012, Zone told The Berlin Citizen that the archdiocese will continue to work with authorities and will release information publicly as it becomes available. She also said the church offers a Victims Assistance Program available to anyone who has experienced any type of abuse.
Miller ministered to the 2,300 regular members of St. Paul’s Parish. He was with St. Paul for five years when the investigation into his case began. Miller also served as chaplain for the South Kensington Fire Department and had roles with several other youth and adult organizations in town.