The following is an email exchange regarding absence of reporters at the Father Daniel Miller 03 June 2013 court date. Suzanne sent a cover note to Metroland East (1) and included a Letter to the Editor for publication (2). On 05 June Suzanne was advised that her letter would not be published (3). (Metroland East publishes papers in several communities, including Renfrew (Renfrew Mercury) and Arnprior (Arnprior Chronicle-Guide)
(1) The Note (o4 June 2013)
We attended the court session; there were no other reporters; so I have composed a letter to the Editor that I would appreciate if it could be posted as is. I was very careful to state what only was said in the court room.
(2) The Letter to the Editor
Guilty! Guilty on five charges of indecent assault on a male.
On June 3rd, 2013, at the Pembroke Courthouse, Father Daniel Miller, a Diocesan Catholic priest with the Pembroke Diocese entered his guilty pleas.
Father Miller is a native of Renfrew, where he was raised and ordained at Our Lady of Fatima Parish in 1969. His first years as an ordained priest were spent at Saint James the Lesser Roman Catholic Church in Eganville, before he was transferred to Our Lady of Good Counsel Roman Catholic Church in Deep River. He subsequently was assigned to Saint John Chrysostom Catholic Church in Arnprior in 1976 as assistant. He was parish priest at Saint John’s from 1985 to 1995.
Having attended the court session on June 3rd, I listened closely to the statement of facts as entered into the court by Crown Attorney Jason Nichol. Unfortunately, no press/media were present in the court room; thus my letter to inform the people of the Ottawa Valley what transpired.
It became apparent to me from the court statement of facts that Father Miller preyed on young altar boys, aged 10 to 13 years of age. The five individual assaults described by the Crown took place between 1969 and 1978.
Father Miller frequently spent time at the homes of the victims; visiting, providing counselling , sharing meals and/or attending family celebrations. All five boys were altar servers at their respective Catholic Church at the time of the individual assaults. One boy was from Eganville, one from Arnprior, and three victims were from Deep River. Father Miller often treated the boys to social outings; the Renfrew fair, trips to see movies in Ottawa, a visit to a local farm, treats at restaurants and fast food outlets. He also purchased clothing gifts. All part of what today we know as “grooming the victim”. With the exception of the Eganville victim, who was assaulted at the Golden Lake Catholic Church Rectory/Cottage?, the other four assaults that Father Miller plead guilty to, took place at his mother’s house in Renfrew in an upstairs bedroom, after an evening of watching tv. His mother served breakfast in the morning, according of the statement of facts after two of the individual assaults. Yes you read it right, his mother’s house!!!
There are many details that could be divulged that were stated in the court room. Suffice it to say, in my opinion, that there are other victims. Namely it was stated by the Crown the name of another victim who is now deceased and also another Arnprior boy’s, name who could not be located. Father Miller admitted involvement.
Why have I “put myself out there” and written this letter? Many of us initially had great misgivings about these horrible accusations against our “Father Dan”, that he would never do such things. We were in disbelief! Well he did!! Unfortunately he was not the priestly person we thought he was. He betrayed young boys. He abused them. He betrayed all of us.
It was said to me recently “his life is ruined” Really? Really!! And what about the lives of those he abused; those young innocent boys?
For the other victims who are out there and in my humble opinion there are other victims, for all the victims, I write this letter for you. You are not alone it was not your fault. He was the adult; he was the Catholic priest; he abused your trust. You were but a child; an altar boy!!
Please everyone, pray for all the victims. They deserve our thoughts and prayers.
Father Daniel Miller’s sentencing hearing is in Pembroke Court on September 7th 2013. Victim impact statements will be presented at that time. It is open to the public. For those, who can, I urge you to attend as a support to these men, who as boys had their innocence stolen from them by a Catholic Priest. For further information you might want to Google Sylvia’s Site.
Suzanne M. Lee, Fitzroy Harbour
(3) The Reply
CC: Lucy.Hass@metroland.com; firstname.lastname@example.org; JCarter@runge.net
Date: Wed, 5 Jun 2013 12:49:45 -0400
Subject: RE: Court coverage
Thank you very much for your letter. No, no one from Metroland was able to attend the session in court this week but we are following it up. One of our reporters did get court documents relating to the case and we will be putting a story together.
I am sorry but we cannot run your letter for a variety of reasons. For starters, we cannot accept your version of events as truth. We need the documents or to speak with lawyers for those facts. Also, just become something was said in court does not mean it is publishable in the media so we need to get our information from the lawyers. Also, we cannot allow for comments on an ongoing case. In this case, the case is not yet closed because sentencing will be in September.
I trust you will understand.
Interim Managing Editor
Ottawa, Arnprior and Renfrew
80 Colonnade Rd. Unit 4, Ottawa, ON K2E 7L2
613-221-6261, 613-978-7238 (c)