|Warrant Details Former Berlin Assistant Pastor's Sexual Online Chats with Boy
By Olivia L. Lawrence
August 18, 2011
An arrest warrant for Michael Miller, former assistant pastor at St. Paul Church, gives a lurid account of communications between the 41-year-old priest and a 13-year-old local boy.
The document was unsealed Tuesday, when Miller appeared in New Britain Superior Court and pled not guilty to five felony counts of risk of injury to a minor and one misdemeanor count of obscenity.
The warrant said the child's mother noticed that her son was having what she considered inappropriate Facebook conversations with Miller. For example, while chatting on Facebook and watching a televised wrestling match, Miller commented that the men had "nice butts."
Other exchanges detailed in the warrant were more explicit.
In several of those phone and text communications, sexual acts were discussed by Miller in graphic detail, including explicit references to pornographic movies, descriptions of homosexual encounters and masturbation, the warrant said. An exchange June 16 was described in the warrant as an "extremely sexually graphic" Facebook conversation detailing sexual acts Miller said he would perform on the boy.
Facebook entries and phone records include a time and date stamp of multiple exchanges between Miller and the boy, providing police a timeline of their contacts.
In separate statements to police, Miller and the boy said that Miller never physically touched the 13-year-old.
Based on information obtained from the boy that Miller planned to meet a man at a motel on the Berlin Turnpike, police put Miller under surveillance. A detective approached Miller as he left the motel and asked him to come to the station for an interview.
Miller agreed and waived his rights. He told police he'd known the boy for about five years and that he and the child conversed on a regular basis on Facebook and by phone. Miller acknowledged that he used the alias Brenden Duvey on Facebook as a way to avoid stalkers from the church. (The boy said Miller told him he used an alias because the nuns did not approve of Facebook.) Miller told police he had texted inappropriate messages of a sexual nature to the child. He stated he knew the child was 13 and that he never had physical contact with him. He said that he had offered to perform sex acts on the child.
With Miller's consent, police took his cell phone and two computers.
The Archidiocese of Hartford released a statement after the arrest warrant was unsealed. In part, it stated that "The Archdiocese of Hartford and the Franciscan Friars Conventual acknowledge the gravity of the charges and facts disclosed today, and condone neither. We detest any actions that would hurt God's children. It is important for the public to know that the Archdiocese is committed to keeping children safe through efforts like the Safe Environment Program, which requires background checks for all personnel who have regular contact with children and young people and includes Virtus training on sexual awareness for all such personnel, and seminars. Likewise, the Franciscan Order requires all of its friars to regularly participate in Praesidium training programs, which conform to the child protection standards of the Conference of Major Superiors of Men (CMSM) in the United States.
"Once again, we extend our sincere sympathies to the alleged victim and offer our prayers for him and all who have suffered the effects of sexual abuse in our society, the parish community of St. Paul and for Fr. Miller, who will never return to ministry if found guilty of these charges."
Miller was suspended from his duties at St. Paul Church and from the Franciscan Friars after his arrest. On July 4, Miller was taken by Life Star to a local hospital for a medical emergency, the details of which have not been disclosed.
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