From Bangor Daily News:
HOULTON, Maine — A 29-year-old Sherman man, who is a member of the town’s Amish community, pleaded guilty to a sex crime Monday afternoon, while appearing in Houlton District Court.
Rudy L. Miller was sentenced to five years in prison with all but nine months suspended by Judge Patrick Larson for the Class C felony of unlawful sexual contact.
Miller was originally facing two counts of gross sexual assault (Class A felonies) and one case of sexual abuse of a minor (Class D felony), but the charge was reduced to unlawful sexual contact.
The incident took place between June 1 and June 30, 2013, in Sherman and involved a girl who was under the age of 14 and was not his wife. Miller was 20 years old at the time.
Judge Larson reminded Miller that he was under no obligation to plead guilty and that the case could go to trial, without him having to take the stand. He also reminded Miller that it would be the state’s burden to convince the members of the jury of his guilt.
Miller stated he understood the judge’s comments but still wished to plead guilty, “because I did it.”
The three girls were ages 14, 13, and 11. Members of the Amish community approached law enforcement two years prior because they “were concerned about Miller and his mental state and incidents that had transpired in their community.”
It’s good to see members of these communities reporting criminal behavior like this. It’s unclear how things transpired however in the sense of when it was reported. Did the community try to “handle” this internally, only to eventually seek help when that proved ineffective? Miller’s attorney had this to say: “There is no question there was sex….But sex to them is different. The Amish community has dealt with him in a certain way.”
Regardless they should be applauded for reporting.
The other thing that strikes me here is the length of imprisonment. He will serve only 9 months of a 5-year sentence. Feels very light. After being released, he will spend 25 weeks in a Plain community rehab facility in Pennsylvania. And then I suppose will return to his community. What checks for this behavior will be in place once he’s back in the vicinity of further potential victims?
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