Sentencing Postponed for Former Berlin Priest

By Lisa Backus
New Britain Herald
July 9, 2013

NEW BRITAIN — The sentencing for a former Berlin priest who pleaded guilty to charges he engaged in ribald Facebook chats with male teenage parishioners has been postponed until August.

Michael Miller, once affectionately called “Father Michael” by parishioners of St. Paul’s Church in Berlin, is expected to serve five years in prison followed by 20 years probation as a sex offender when his sentencing is complete Aug. 15.

Miller was scheduled to be sentenced Tuesday but his attorney asked for a continuance to gather more information, according to court staff.

Miller’s activities came to light in June 2011 when the mother of a 13-year-old male parishioner reported to police that the priest, who was well known for showing up at accident scenes and volunteering at youth events, was chatting in a sexual manner on Facebook with her son.

Assistant State’s Attorney Christian Watson and his attorney William St. John both noted during previous court proceedings that Miller was never accused of inappropriately touching any of the young men.

Miller, who was a Franciscan Friar who had worked as a priest at St. Paul’s Church for five years, was suspended from the priesthood in 2011 when he was first arrested.

As part of the investigation, police seized several of Miller’s work and personal computers. An examination revealed that Miller was having inappropriate online conversations with several teenage boys, most of whom were parishioners who met him through the church. The examination also showed that he had sent pornographic images to one of the teens, according to police.

The Archdiocese of Hartford and the Franciscan Friars Conventual announced that Miller will never again serve as a priest after he pleaded guilty to two counts of risk of injury to a child, obscenity and third-degree possession of child pornography in exchange for a 20-year prison sentence, suspended after five years served, followed by 20 years probation.


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