New charges laid against priest

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The Ontario Provincial Police have laid new charges against a Pembroke priest already facing possible jail time for sexually assaulting young boys.

OPP announced last week that they have charged Father Daniel Miller, 69, with fresh counts of gross indecency and indecent assault on a male.

Police said the charges were laid following an investigation into a complaint that a teenage male had been assaulted by a priest between 1970 and 1972, in Deep River.

Miller will appear in court on the charges on November 26.

Miller is already scheduled to appear November 28 to be sentenced on five counts of indecent assault on a male.

Miller entered a plea of guilty to the charges last June.

Three of those charges involved victims who served as altar boys at Our Lady of Good Counsel Church and whose families had welcomed him as the parish priest into their Deep River homes.

Miller’s victims were nine, 10 and 12 years old at the time of the assaults, which took place during overnight trips while staying at the home of Miller’s mother in Renfrew.

In submissions to the trial judge, Superior Court Justice Timothy Ray, Renfrew County Crown Attorney Jason Nicol asked for a jail term of seven to nine months on the charges.

Nicol said he agreed with the defence that Miller’s “public shame and embarrassment” could be considered a “mitigating factor” in his sentencing.

“Given his high standing as a priest in this area for many years, he has been brought low,” he said.

But Nicol said that is overshadowed by the “egregious” breach of trust involved in his case.

“He would take these boys into his care (and) their parents trusted him,” Nicol said.

“They had complete trust and faith in Mr. Miller as a priest, and not just as a priest but as a family friend, someone who they had taken into their homes, someone who ate with them.”

Nicol said the court also had to consider the impact on the lives of the victims.

Before the sentencing arguments, the court heard a series of powerful and emotional victim impact statements from five of Miller’s victims and two of their mothers.

Nicol said there is “no question” Miller’s actions have had a “devastating and lifelong impact on these men.”

“I don’t think any of these men would say Mr. Miller was the source of all their problems,” he said.

“But their statements show there is no such thing as minor sexual abuse of a child.

“Any abuse is significant and usually has lifelong consequences.”

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