Thursday, 7 March 2013

Pastor sentenced to two years in prison for his role in child abduction

Mennonite Pastor, Kenneth Miller
Earlier in the week, I wrote about a US parental child abduction.  A Mennonite Pastor was facing a spell in gaol for his part in abetting the abduction of a young girl by her mother from the USA to Nicaragua.  She defied court orders that the child, Isabella, was entitled to see and spend time with her other psychological parent, the mother’s former partner.

Well, it looks like Pastor Kenneth Miller might have backed the wrong god.  Or else he misunderstood what said deity required of him.  In any event, there was no divine intercession on his behalf when he was sentenced by a Federal Court Judge to twenty-seven months in prison for his part in the abduction.  Miller had been found guilty of abetting the crime last summer.

Miller will remain notionally a free man for a little longer, whilst he appeals against his conviction.  He is appealing on the grounds he believes that the case should have been tried in Virginia and not Vermont.  In Virginia, it is unlikely he would have spent any time in prison, or even been convicted. 

Prosecutors pressed for the maximum three-year term for Miller.  Because of his brazen intervention, a child — an American citizen — is growing up outside this country, and a mother must bear the unimaginable daily torment of being separated from her child, without any word on her child’s health or well-being.  Kenneth Miller’s offense could not be more serious.

Miller’s legal team tried to argue that he should not be incarcerated.  He had no criminal record, they said, and was a leader in his community who regularly helped people.  They claimed the aid he gave to the child abductor was minimal, amateurish and unsophisticated.  In short, they claimed Miller had been taken-in, having been identified as a soft-touch by the abducting mother.

It seems difficult to square this meek and mild re-telling of Miller’s role with his subsequent refusal to help find Isabella or to implicate others who abetted the child abduction.  This he says is on account of “reasons of faith and conscience [and] … my deeply held religious beliefs."

Assuming Miller’s appeal fails, his two-plus years in prison will afford him ample time to reflect again on his “faith and conscience and moral convictions”, and to do the right thing by Isabella and her left-behind parent.

No comments:

Post a Comment