CASCADE COUNTY, MT – In a bizarre case pertaining to a man initially accused of raping a 14-year-old girl and then police alleging to have found the suspect in possession of child pornography, the man has managed to get away with a six-month sentence in jail and a one year suspended sentence.
The judge in the case proclaimed that her hands were tied due to a plea agreement reached during the case.
A man initially accused of more than 60 felonies was sentenced Monday on a plea agreement that dismissed all but two charges. https://t.co/5NXIWPzoO4
— Great Falls Tribune (@GFTribune) July 20, 2020
Back in February of 2019, then-49-year-old William Edward Miller Jr. was arrested after a 14-year-old girl claimed that Miller had raped her in March of 2018. Charging documents at the time also noted that Miller had also coerced an 11-year-old boy to rape the young girl as well.
Then, in August of 2019, police further charged Miller with 64 counts of intercourse without consent and sexual abuse of children, after a search of his residence revealed numerous indecent photos featuring minors and a web search history on his phone and laptop that were rather disturbing.
Police say that a majority of the images retrieved on Miller’s laptop and cell phone featured a woman who was romantically involved with Miller but was a minor at the time a majority of the indecent images were taken.
GREAT FALLS- William Edward Miller Jr. has been sentenced to 1 year deferred with unsupervised probation after a plea deal was reached earlier this year. https://t.co/erkIF5FeBq
— KFBB (@KFBB) July 20, 2020
While Miller was in custody at the time, it was reported that the woman even went so far as to obtain and destroy the laptop and cellphone prior to policing getting their hands on the evidence back in August of 2019.
William Edward Miller Jr. faces 64 counts of sexual abuse of children after a search of his phone and laptop allegedly yielded images of child pornography and bestiality. https://t.co/rfg4U87Jzr
— Great Falls Tribune (@GFTribune) August 13, 2019
Now 51-years-old, Miller was sentenced on July 20th after pleading guilty to felony sexual abuse of children and misdemeanor unsworn falsification to authorities.
Judge Elizabeth Best reviewed the charges cited on the plea, and handed down a sentence of six months in the Cascade County Detention Center and a one-year deferred in conjunction with completing a sex offender treatment.
However, Miller was given credit for 384 days’ time served while in custody applied toward the six-month sentence.
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Judge Best explained that she could only hand down a sentence for the charges in front of her on the plea – and not that of the original accusations levied against Miller:
“I think it’s really easy and it’s easy for courts, from the bench, to use these offenses as an opportunity to grandstand and to make statements for the newspaper and TV. They’re very, very loaded charges. They’re very difficult charges to defend against.”
As it turned out, the single count sexual abuse of children that Miller was sentenced for came from a photo of a girl who was 17-years-old at the time. That same woman, now 19, has been married to Miller for three months. She characterized Miller as someone that was “kind” and said that she never felt like a victim:
“William is a kind, compassionate, empathetic man. Never has he manipulated or controlled me. I ask that we be free of this charge. I feel that we have suffered enough, and I am not a victim of my husband.”
While in court, Miller characterized himself as being the victim in this case:
“All this happened to me, my wife, our kid has just been a tragic thing. It’s destroyed our lives, and we’re suffering. I’ve served time in jail for stuff that I didn’t even do.”
It’s unclear as to what ever came of the young female victim that alleged Miller had raped her back in 2018, as there’s been no record of her involvement in the case since that initial arrest back in February of 2019.
Whatever came of her 2019 report to authorities, it had managed to not be included or considered within the plea arrangement Miller accepted which may mean that there was a possible recanting or insufficient evidence in the claim.
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