Kenneth L. Miller, a Beachy Amish-Mennonite pastor from Stuarts, VA, was convicted yesterday by a federal jury in Burlington , VT for aiding and abetting the flight of Lisa A. Miller and her daughter Isabelle Miller-Jenkins in 2009, to avoid court-ordered visits from Miller’s former civil union partner, Janet Jenkins.
Lisa Miller and Janet Jenkins broke up in 2003, at which point Miller moved to Virginia and declared herself a born-again Christian, the New York Times reports. Miller tried in vain to strip Jenkins of her parental rights and interfered with court-mandated visits, leading a federal judge to threaten to transfer custody of Isabella to Jenkins in 2009.
Here, Pastor Miller — no relation to Lisa Miller — intervened. Homosexuality being a sin in the eyes of Beachy Amish-Menonites, the pastor helped transport Ms. Miller and Isabella from Canada to Nicaragua, where they obtained shelter as missionaries and where federal agents believe they are still in hiding.
The pastor’s lawyer tried to contend that Mr. Miller did not know he was violating court orders by assisting in the absconding of Lisa Miller, however prosecutors proved that he made efforts to hide his actions, such as stipulating that the flight from Canada to Nicaragua would not touch down in America.
A fellow pastor in Canada who had refused to transport Miller and her daughter across the Canadian-US border because he thought he would be breaking the law further helped to undermine Mr. Miller’s case.
Kenneth Miller could face up to three years in prison but for now he simply had to fork over his passport. The pastor might appeal his case, however, arguing that the trial should have taken place in Virginia where Mr. Miller’s shady dealings took place.