After Father Daniel Miller entered a guilty plea to the five remaining charges against him (all indecent assault male) yesterday in courtroom #5 at the Pembroke courthouse, the following facts were read into the record. There is a publication ban on the names of the victims. I have opted to use alphabetical monikers. The initials used are not those of either the surname or given name of the victim.
The facts below are my summation of what I heard in court. (A beautiful court-room by the way. I wanted to take a picture to show you but – not allowed :() A large crest hung over the bench bears the Latin motto “Dieu et mon droit” – God is my law. I like that!
I mentioned yesterday that I thought there were about 16 in court. I looked at my notes and have 17. Believe it or not, and sad to say, that is actually a huge turn out for court.
Father Miller was accompanied by the Chancellor of the Pembroke Diocese, Msgr. Bridge. Usually it would have been Father Proulx at his side, but Father Proulx has had some medical problems so is unable to attend.
And, as I said before, there was only one victim in the court room to watch as his accuser entered a guilty plea.
I was puzzled by Father Miller’s apparent lack of shame. It was strange. Not once did I see his head go down in the courtroom in a show of shame or embarrassment. In fact, in a bit of a bizarre reversal I had no trouble at all getting pictures of Father Miller entering or exiting the courthouse, – it was his lawyer Robert Carew who was trying hide from the camera! A few of you have made comment on that. Strange indeed, is it not?
Now back to the statement. I must let you know that Mr. Carew did not accept the Crown’s statement verbatim . This is strange – usually there is an agreed upon statement of facts: for whatever reason, not here. Anyway, I will put a note where I am aware that Mr. Carew disputes. There was no argument on this from Mr. Nichol so I’m not sure which takes precedence – Mr. Nichols statement, or Mr. Carew’s ‘protest’?
So, here goes:
(1) Victim “A”
Victim “A” was an altar boy at St. James Roman Catholic Church in Eganville, Ontario. Father Dan Miller was a priest at the church.
Father Miller picked “A” up on a Saturday evening and took him to the rectory at the church in Golden Lake Reserve. Father Miller was going to say Mass the following morning.
The two slept in the same bed, both dressed in their underwear.
Father Miller asked “A”: “Do you want to try something that will feel good?”
Miller asked the boy to pull down his underwear. Miller did likewise.
The priest began to touch and rub the boy in his groin. He brushed his hand against the child’s penis – he touched the child’s testicles.
“This is going to feel good,” the priest told the child.
Miller asked the boy to do the same to him. The child complied – “A” momentarily touched the priest: he did not touch the priest’s penis.
The touching lasted about 15 minutes. “A “was nervous and uncomfortable. Miller stopped.
There was no discussion on the drive home the next day.
“A” stopped going to Mass.
“A”’s wife read in the paper that Father Miller had been charged. She told “A.” At that time A disclosed. A contacted police.
(2) Victim “B”
Victim “B” was an altar boy at Our Lady of Good Counsel Roman Catholic Church in Deep River, Ontario. Father Miller arrived at the Church when “B” was in Grade 7 or 8. Miller knew the boy as an altar server, through youth group and visits to the child’s home.
“B”s family was not well to do. Father Miller took the boy to movies and restaurants.
On one occasion Father Miller took “B” to Ottawa to see a movie. On the return trip the pair stopped in Renfrew to visit and stay overnight in the home of Mrs. Miller, the priest’s mother.
After watching TV the priest and boy went upstairs to bed. There was a double bed in the bedroom. Both man and boy were in their underwear.
“B” was lying on his back. Father Miller began to run his fingers across the boy’s stomach. He asked the boy to touch his, Miller’s, stomach as well. Then Miller moved the boy’s underwear down and began to touch the boy’s penis. The boy turned onto his side. Miller continued.
The next day priest and boy drove back to Deep River. There was no discussion of what had transpired.
Similar incidents occurred between three and seven times, and always at the home of Father Miller’s mother in Renfrew. “B” was age 11-13 at the time. Father Miller would try to get “B” to touch his, Miller’s, penis – “B” resisted.
“B” heard through his mother that Father Miller had been charged. At that time “B” disclosed to his mother that he too had been abused by Miller. He had always thought that he was the only one. He had never told anyone. The first person he told was his mother.
“B” contacted police.
[Mr. Carew seemed to want the lower end of the frequency scale to be two, ie two to seven times, vs three to seven times.]
(3) Victim “C”
“C” and his family attended St. John Chrysostom Roman Catholic Church in Arnprior, Ontario. His family was not well-to-do. His mother turned to Father Miller for counselling. Miller would visit the boy’s home on occasion.
Father Miller took “C” skiing in Calabogie. He took “B” and some other boys to the Renfrew fair.
When “C” was around 10-years-of age Father Miller asked him to go along on a trip to Renfrew while Father Miller visited his mother. It was around Christmas time. B recalls seeing the tree and lights.
The pair had supper, watched some TV, and went to bed. There were two single beds in the bedroom.
They said their prayers and went to bed.
“C” recalls Father Miller talking about “C” becoming an altar boy. ( B did so when he was around 11 or 12.)
When “C” awoke in the morning Father Miller’s hand was cupped over the top of his penis. The priest was sitting on the edge of the boy’s bed.
“C” recalls Father Miller saying: “Oh, you have a little tent thing going on there. I was just trying to push it down.” “C” asked the priest to move his hand. Miller tried several times to get the boy to put his hand down to his, “C”‘’s, genitals. The child refused. Around this time Mrs. Miller called the two for breakfast.
The pair had breakfast with Father Miller’s mother . They went shopping (new wiunter mitts for the boy). Then the drove back to Arnprior.
There was no discussion of what had happened, but Father Miller did tell “C”: “Just remember that some people do bad things and people that do bad things tend to go to Hell.”
When they reached Arnprior and the boy was leaving without saying good-bye Miller asked him: “What, no goodbye?” the boy said good-bye.
There were no further trips to Mrs. Miller’s home in Renfrew for “C,” but there was some contact in future years with Father Miller.
“C” had serious drug problems. He was living in shelters. He attempted to commit suicide.
At some point when “C” went back to detox he told a counsellor about the abuse. Then he saw an article in the paper about the charges against Father Miller. “C” told other counsellors. He contacted police.
[Mr. Carew wanted to get on the record that “C” had never blamed his drug problems on his sexual abuse. He also said that Father Miller did not tell “C” that people who do bad things go to Hell.]
(4) Victim DN
DN and his brothers were altar boys at Our Lady of Good Counsel Roman Catholic Church in Deep River, Ontario.
DN’s parents were active in the Church and had a lot of youth activities at their home. Father Miller visited the home frequently. He counselled DN’s mother who was a victim of incest.
Father Miller often treated the boy to fast foods –a rare treat for the child.
Four times DN accompanied Father Miller to Renfrew when the priest was visiting his mother overnight. On one of three of those trips DN was alone with Father. On the other three trips it was DN and DN’s two brothers who made the trip.
When all three boys went to Renfrew, one of three boys would always sleep with Father. DN slept with Father Miller when his brothers were too. Nothing happened.
DN was about 9-years-old when he made the trip to Renfrew alone.
DN and Father Miller slept in the same bed. They were both in T-shirts and underwear.
Father Miller put his arm around DN’s waist and they went to sleep.
In the morning, Father asked DN if he was ticklish. DN said he was not.
The priest began to tickle the boy’s chest. “Are sure you’re not ticklish?” he asked. The child repeatedly told the priest that no, he was not ticklish.
It continued. Father Miller pulled the child’s underwear down: he began to tickle the boy’s scrotum and penis. He was also touching the boy’s buttocks.
DN became catatonic.
The priest did not ask the boy to reciprocate.
This went on for more than a few minutes.
The priest and boy got up, had breakfast and drove back to Deep River. There was no discussion about what had happened, however on the drive home Father Miller told the boy that he, Miller, would get into a lot of trouble if D said anything
D was the first victim to come forward and contact the police.
(5) Victim EN
EN is a former altar boy at Our Lady of Good Counsel Roman Catholic church in Deep River and brother of DN. He was about nine years of age when he accompanied Father Miller on a trip to Renfrew to visit Miller’s mother.
The priest and boy went upstairs to bed. There was one bed in the bedroom.
Father Miller suggested they play a game – each would draw on the other’s back and they would have to guess what was being drawn.
The drawing game moved onto the stomachs.
Father Miller put his hand down EN’s shorts, grabbed the boy’s testicles and asked: “What are these called?”
“Those are my balls,” said the boy.
Miller stopped. The boy started drawing on the priest’s stomach again. The priest kept asking him to go lower. The boy didn’t want to. Finally they went to sleep.
The incident is never discussed.
When time came for EN to marry he refused to get married in the Catholic Church. It was at this time that he told his mother about the abuse.
In 1997 Mrs. N was told by her son DN that he had been sexually abused by Father Dan Miller.
Mrs. N headed right for Pembroke. She confronted Father Miller with the allegations. Miller admitted to the abuse. He told Mrs. N he was glad the allegations were out in the open. He tried to tell Mrs. N that the abuse was not invasive – that it was only touching.
An upset Mrs. N slapped the priest in the face.
Mrs. N then headed off to talk to the Bishop. The Bishop of the day was Brendan O’Brien.
The distraught mother asked Bishop O’Brien to ensure that Father Miller would not be permitted to say conduct services (say Mass) or be alone with children. The Bishop agreed. (As recently as 2011 Father Miller was in active ministry assisting at St. Edwards in Bristol.)
Counselling was offered for the mother and her sons.
During counselling it was suggested that Mrs. N ask for a letter of apology from Father Miller. She did so. In 1999 she received a letter of apology from Father Miller. He apologizes “for the trust that was broken.” He told her that provisions were being made for him to get professional help.
On 20 December 2012 EN contacted police.
Father Miller was arrested 29 February 2012. His statement to police was described as “semi-inculpatory.” He admitted ‘touching’ the two brothers, and B and another boy who has since died. He also admitted abuse of an Arnprior boy whose whereabouts are unknown.
Father Miller admitted all of the incidents which transpired at his mother’s home. He claimed he was only tickling the boys.
Mr. Carew has asked for an assessment of Father Miller for the bracelet program. The judge is unfamiliar with the assessment. It will proceed. I am sure that Mr. Carew will try to get Father Miller on house arrest sporting an ankle bracelet. He did it for Monsignor Robert Borne.
A Sexual Behaviour Assessment dated 13 May 2013 and conducted by Dr. Federhoff from the Royal Ottawa Hospital was entered into evidence by Mr. Carew. There were no quotes.
There was also an exhibit of letters of commendation or support for Father Miller. Not one of those letters was read into the record. Usually a lawyer takes great pride in reading at least three of such letters or notes into the record. Not a one such letter was read to the court by Mr. Carew.
A sentencing report will be prepared for the sentencing hearing: 10 am, 17 September 2012.
A long wait. I’m not sure if sentencing will be pronounced the same day.
A reminder that the seven charges of gross indecency laid by police disappeared. Those charges would include such things as masturbation and oral sex. I don’t know if some or all of those went because Father Miller would agree to enter a guilty plea on the indecent assault male charges, but not on the gross indecency?
On a lighter note, I’ll close off by saying that yesterday was another opportunity to meet and get together with friends old and new – silver linings 🙂
Enough for now.