Berlin Priest Pleads Not Guilty to Child Porn, Obsenity Charges
By Megan Bard and Jason Vallee
July 10, 2012
The four cases against a popular Berlin priest alleged to have held sexually oriented chats on Facebook with young male parishioners and possessed child pornography were continued to Aug. 22.
Michael Miller, 42, pleaded not guilty in New Britain Superior Court on Monday to having inappropriate contact with a juvenile and allegations that he possessed child pornography on three of his computers, which were seized in 2011 after Miller was arrested and charged with having inappropriate contact with the young males.
Miller is charged with eight counts of risk of injury to a minor, two counts of obscenity, one count of attempting to commit an obscene act and one count of possession of child pornography. Miller, a pastor of Saint Paul's Catholic Church in Kensington, is currently free on $450,000 bond, a total amount set for the four cases pending against him. Miller is currently suspended from his church duties.
In July 2011, Miller was arrested based on several charges of risk of injury to a minor. During the course of that investigation police obtained three search warrants in order to review the contents of Miller's two desktop computers and one laptop.
After spending months examing the computers' contents, police determined that Miller had been having explicit and sexually inappropriate conversations with several young males, including sending them sexually-oriented videos and photos, according to the arrest warrants associated with his June 2012 arrest.
According to one of the warrants, Miller's contact with an unidentified 16-year-old male parishioner started to make the young man uncomfortable when the priest began sending him sexually explicit messages through Facebook. A social worker in contact with the family reported the issue, which included Miller allegedly sending two sexually explicit videos to the young man, to Berlin Police in June 2011.
The warrants also reveal that Miller possessed several video files that are considered as child pornography and that he stored using a special program meant to keep them hidden from law enforcement officials should his computer be seized.