Email exchange regarding absence of reporters for Father Dan Miller “Guilty” pleas

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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 On 05 June Suzanne was advised that her letter would not be published (3).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

Dear 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.

Sincerely,

Suzanne M.  Lee, Fitzroy Harbour

(3) The Reply

From: [email protected]
To: [xxxx]
CC: [email protected]; [email protected]; [email protected]
Date: Wed, 5 Jun 2013 12:49:45 -0400
Subject: RE: Court coverage

Hi Suzanne,

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.

Theresa

 

Theresa Fritz

Interim Managing Editor

Metroland East

Ottawa, Arnprior and Renfrew

80 Colonnade Rd. Unit 4, Ottawa, ON K2E 7L2

613-221-6261, 613-978-7238 (c)

[email protected]

9 Responses to Email exchange regarding absence of reporters for Father Dan Miller “Guilty” pleas

  1. Rose says:

    FORMER VALLEY PRIEST PLEADS GUILTY TO INDECENT ASSAULT
    6/5/2013 8:54:59 AM
    Father Dan Miller has pleaded guilty to five counts of indecent assault in Pembroke Court this week. He was originally charged with 12 counts involving young boys while he was a priest at several locations in the Ottawa Valley. A pre-sentence report has been ordered and the sentencing phase is set to begin September 17th. Miller remains out of custody pending the sentencing hearings.
    http://www.renfrewtoday.ca/default.asp?pid=558331&wireid=00508_ARP_MillerPleadsSHORT_085348
    It is short, but at least they reported it.
    Back in the 90’s victims really had very few places to turn to for help.
    Men especially were left on their own with little or no help.
    For the most part all victims of sexual assault at that time, were left with little to no understanding of their plight. Doctors, Teachers, Lawyers etc were clueless. I am sure many still are. Education on all levels of society are essential. Prevention is the cure.
    Educate children, teens and adults on what to watch out for.
    If you come across a victim.
    Be sure to tell them it was not their fault. They are always told no one will belei8ve then and they are at fault by the perpetrator. Some even go so far as to threatening the victims parents, friends or pets. Among other things. Depending on the circumstances the victim may be extremely fearful. Some victims may have also been beaten, by the perpetrators.
    Never show your angry, save that for latter.
    Listen to their story. Let them know it was the perpetrator who is the bad guy.
    Never attempt to tell the victim they should have done this, that or the other. Remember Victims had no choice in the matter. It was not their fault.
    You can Advise them on how to get help.
    They can tell the Police, a Teacher, a Parent or Family and Children Services.
    Never be forceful with them, they are afraid. Coming forward is the hardest thing for them to do. If they tell you that is a big step forward for any victim.
    If you know the victim, you can offer to go with them, to Police or whoever.
    In the event they are very young, you can contact the proper authorities and get the child help.
    Always remain calm. That is the hard to do.

    A program for Canada’s forgotten victims
    http://www.ottawacitizen.com/news/program+Canada+forgotten+victims/8491441/story.html

  2. Lisa Herrick-Burton says:

    Sylvia, I’ve been following your blog since the initial charges against Father Miller were laid, but this is the first time I have commented. I grew up in Arnprior (you may guess, from my name, that I am a relative of Suzanne’s – she is my aunt), attending the Catholic church with my family. I moved away from Arnprior in 1995 to attend university and have not lived there since. It sickens me to think that my brothers, my cousins, and many of the boys I went to school with – both at St. Joseph’s Separate School and in high school – spent so much time with this man. I’m bothered that there has been so little media coverage, but I suppose that is probably not new to you with regards to these criminals. I have shared your page/info on Father Miller on my Facebook page, as there are many Arnprior and area residents I’m friends with through that site. Thanks, Suzanne, for contacting the media with the outcome of the charges. I can understand their response, but I find it unfortunate that they didn’t see fit to have someone there to document the proceedings.

    • Sylvia says:

      Welcome Lisa. It`s nice to have another Herrick 🙂 And good for you for spreading the word.

    • Suzanne Herrick-Lee says:

      I am so pleased that you have posted here Lisa. Hi !!!! Just to further clarify, I had contacted the Renfrew Arnprior paper group the week prior about the upcoming guilty pleas, I do have a prior email from them saying that on Mondays their staff was tied up and that furthermore they don’t cover Pembroke court!!!
      The Eganville leader usually covers, but their staff were flu hit, they published my letter, and also covered the story in great detail….but the others paid it minimal attention….
      I was/am very upset,angry, hurt, betrayed by Fr Miller’s criminal activities…imagine how the victims feel….am even more outraged at the Arnprior victim, as a teacher, parishioner, and more, I actually observed some of the ” grooming” buying of clothing, spending time with the victim, we were all in the dark about what he was really about weren’t we??
      It pleases me greatly that you are using the social media to spread the word regarding Fr Miller, we all need to know the reality as there are many in the Prior who really don’t have a grasp of the charges and guilty pleas….also, we need to remind ourselves that when there is a guilty plea there has also been some plea bargaining….things get whittled down, and sure is sure they were minimized here…..anyway, hats off to you for posting!!!

      • Suzanne Herrick-Lee says:

        Am NOT outraged at the Arnprior victim, am outraged at what happened to him!! Awkward sentence structure !

      • Lisa Herrick-Burton says:

        “…there are many in the Prior who really don’t have a grasp of the charges and guilty pleas…”

        Yes, I found the Facebook reactions from Arnpriorites (is that the right word?!), upon someone’s posting of the initial news article, quite astonishing. Former altar boys swearing up and down that he would never do such a thing. At the time, I found it hard to believe that six different individuals would fabricate such stories of abuse, so I had no serious doubts as to his guilt. It’s really too bad that charges are whittled away, as you say, with guilty pleas.

  3. Leona says:

    Well done, Lisa!
    Survivors have found social media such as Facebook to be a great assets in spreading the word about sexual abuse that will support victims in their healing and provide formation that keeps children safe. I have been amazed at the response of friends and family to my posts, and have started a separate page to share information. I believe if you click on my name above it will take you to my Facebook page.

    Thanks for speaking up on behalf of all Survivors!

  4. Miecul says:

    Leona I can’t access the Facebook page you’re speaking about. Do you have a link?

  5. Leona says:

    Hi Miecul,

    My Facebook page hasn’t been working as easily as I thought it would so I haven’t added anything new for awhile, but you’ve inspired me, so I may add more this week.

    Hopefully the link will work now. Please let me know if there are any problems.
    https://www.facebook.com/pages/Vancouver-Snap-Network/234513480021946?ref=ts&fref=ts

    Thanks

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