Ex-Priest Gets 3 Years In Prison For Molesting Boy

In a courtroom where victims denounced him and still-devoted parishioners embraced him, a former Roman Catholic priest was sentenced Friday to three years in prison for molesting a boy in the late 1980s.

George Miller, 70, of Oxnard, had pleaded guilty to molesting the boy starting when the youth was 9, and admitted to sexually assaulting four other boys whose cases couldn't be prosecuted because of statute of limitations problems.

Arriving at court, he was hugged by a half-dozen former parishioners who watched the sentencing with tears in their eyes.

"Not guilty," two of them said to a reporter outside, but they refused to explain.

Before his sentence was pronounced, two victims in the uncharged cases asked to speak. A man, now in his 30s, asked Miller to turn and face him.

"I looked to God and God gave me you," he said, fighting back tears. "You're a priest, for crying out loud. My family trusted you to teach me the ways of the Lord, not the ways of hell."

The man, whose name was kept confidential, is the brother of the man whose case was the subject of Miller's sentence. He said his brother is now in jail on drug charges and had drifted into drug use after being molested.

A second victim, 42, told Miller: "I don't love or respect you. ... When you infiltrated our family and poisoned them, our faith was rocked. We were left emotionally bankrupt."

The gray-haired Miller, wearing casual clothes and seated at the counsel table, said nothing.

Los Angeles County Superior Court Judge Cynthia Ulfig imposed the sentence and told Miller that he would have to register as a sex offender. He was taken into custody immediately.

Outside court, Miller's attorney, Steve Cron, said, "There are people who believe fervently in him and don't believe there's any truth in the allegations."

But he said the number of accusations against Miller and the availability of witnesses who would have testified made it a difficult case to challenge.

The sentencing took place against the backdrop of a reported grand jury investigation of the actions of Cardinal Roger Mahony and other Los Angeles archdiocese officials regarding the molestation scandal.

In 2007, the archdiocese reached a record $660 million settlement with more than 500 alleged victims of child abuse.

Miller was transferred between parishes beginning in 1977 when a complaint was made about him. He was sent to Oxnard, where most of the abuses took place. Subsequently, he was sent to a church in the Pacoima area of Los Angeles. Parishioners from Pacoima came to support him in court.

Tod Tamberg, director of media relations for the archdiocese, issued a statement after Miller's sentencing.

"We hope that today's sentencing brings some measure of comfort to George Miller's victims," it said.

The statement said that 32 years ago the mother of a boy asked church authorities to deal with allegations she made against Miller, but Miller denied them and he was allowed to remain in ministry by Cardinal Timothy Manning, who is now deceased.

Miller was the subject of a 1989 report of "boundary violations," the statement said, adding that the term does not describe sexual abuse and is not a euphemism. Mahony removed Miller from ministry in 1996 after a complaint of sex abuse dating to the 1970s, it said. In 2002, the archdiocese received more reports of abuse by Miller in the '70s and informed police.


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Comments are posted from viewers like you and do not always reflect the views of this station.
  • by cyw Location: greenville on Jan 31, 2009 at 02:57 PM
    3 years! That is so sad! He deserves to be left to rot for the rest of his miserable life. I agree with Alpha and Buzz on this one too -- he'll get his reward in prison.
  • by Buzz Location: Mbx on Jan 31, 2009 at 12:27 PM
    I'm with ALPHA female on this one, even the most hardened criminal can't stand a child molester. Mr Miller's reward awaits, enjoy sir. Buzz
  • by Alex Location: Vanceboro on Jan 31, 2009 at 08:35 AM
    It's too bad that the court felt a boys life is only worth 3 years. I bet if it were their kid it would be much longer
  • by ~ALPHA female~ Location: O84P on Jan 31, 2009 at 07:59 AM
    this dog smokes...reread the story... there were complaints made back in the 70's and this man was moved around and nothing was done about him molesting these children. And it doesn't matter how long they waited... that doesn't make that punk scum any less guilty. Lots of children don't tell they were being molested until they are teenagers or adults...it happens OK? He only get 3 years? He should spend the rest of his life in prison being some one's pin cushion. I hope he is put in a maximum security prison with harden criminals... murderers... and other rapist. And while he is getting "his" it give him a heart attack and he doesn't walk out in 3 years.
  • by VBush Location: MHCY on Jan 31, 2009 at 06:04 AM
    The Pope and his hierarchy need to take an aggressive stand against this type of crime. There inaction is destroying the Catholic church and Christianity in general. Moving an accused Priest to another diocese to put the 'flames out' is not only wrong but condoning the situation, and allowing it to continue. With that said, an accusation doesn't make it so, but these things surely need to be addressed in a more timely manner. A third of a life time is a little much.
  • by good Catholic girl on Jan 31, 2009 at 04:55 AM
    I want to know why WITN didn't post the ****'s face and why, if he is as you call him "an ex priest" did you post a picture of the collar????
  • by OK Location: NC on Jan 30, 2009 at 11:43 PM
    This person only getting three years is a crime. His superiors also need to be put on trial.
  • by This dog smokes Location: Greenville on Jan 30, 2009 at 11:29 PM
    As tragic as this may seem. Why did they wait 20-30 years later to come forward .
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