(TMU) – A man in Montana who initially faced over 60 counts of child sex abuse has received a deferred sentence of only one year after agreeing to a plea deal.
William Edward Miller Jr., a 51-year-old man from Great Falls, was arrested last February after a 14-year-old girl accused him of raping her. Miller also allowed an 11-year-old boy to rape her while he watched.
Last August, Miller was also charged with 64 counts of felony sexual abuse of children after investigators found images on his phone and laptop of children and animals being sexually abused.
Police had received a warrant to search his home after Miller called people in jail asking them to destroy his phone, reports the Great Falls Tribune.
During the investigation, officers also found a loaded gun under a mattress as well as Miller’s laptop. Upon examining his laptop, investigators found several images depicting child abuse as well as thousands of images related to bestiality.
Among the images were those depicting him engaging in sexual acts with a 17-year-old minor, who Miller later married when she became 19.
In a plea deal Miller later reached with prosecutors, the vast majority of charges ended up being dismissed. Based on a single photo of the 17-year-old girl that was found in his possession, Miller pleaded guilty to one count of felony sexual abuse of children and one count of misdemeanor unsworn falsification to authorities.
On Monday, Cascade County District Judge Elizabeth Best sentenced Miller to six months in prison for the misdemeanor. However, he received credit for 384 days of time served.
For the felony charge, Miller was given a one-year deferred sentence and was ordered to undergo sex offender treatment in the community. However, the deferred sentence allows Miller to have the child sex abuse charge wiped from his record provided he doesn’t commit another crime over the next year, reports KFBB.
The felony charges to which Miller pleaded guilty are connected to a photo of 17-year-old teenager Shiloh Young. The woman, who is now 19, and has been married to Miller for three months. She claims that she had taken the photo of herself to help her deal with body issues that she had.
“William is a kind, compassionate, empathetic man. Never has he manipulated or controlled me,” Young explained to the judge. “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.”
During sentencing, Judge Best said that she was only able to impose sentencing on Miller based on the charges that had been presented to her and what was able to be proven, rather than on the myriad accusations against the sex offender.
“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,” Best explained.
“They’re very, very loaded charges. They’re very difficult charges to defend against,” she added.
During sentencing, Miller complained that his time in jail was served “for stuff that I didn’t even do,” and that he tries to be a good person but suffers from “really bad luck.”
After Miller completes a year of unsupervised probation, he will also be able to petition to have himself removed from sex offender registries.
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