Great Falls, MT – A Montana man originally charged with over 60 counts of child sex abuse was sentenced to one year of probation on Monday.
The conviction will be removed from his record if he successfully completes the term of community supervision.
During his sentencing hearing on July 20, William Miller told the court that he has tried to be a good citizen, but that he has had “really bad luck,” the Great Falls Tribune reported.
“All this happened to me, my wife, our kid has just been a tragic thing,” Miller complained before receiving his lenient sentence. “It’s destroyed our lives, and we’re suffering. I’ve served time in jail for stuff that I didn’t even do.”
The 51-year-old defendant was accused in February of 2019 of raping a 14-year-old girl at her residence one year prior, WNYW reported.
The victim further alleged that in another encounter, Miller allowed an 11-year-old boy to rape her while he watched.
As he was sitting in jail on the initial rape charge in February of 2019, police allegedly received an anonymous tip that Miller was making calls from the jail in an attempt to get someone to go to his home in Neihart, find his cell phone, and destroy it, KFBB reported.
Investigators were able to obtain a search warrant for Miller’s home prior to the evidence being destroyed.
According to court records, Miller had thousands of bestiality-related images and multiple images of child pornography on his devices, KFBB reported.
The state filed 64 counts of sexual abuse of children against Miller in August of 2019, the Great Falls Tribune reported.
Cascade County Deputy Attorney Kory Larsen told The Police Tribune that all 64 counts involved a single victim.
But the victim was not the same teen who he allegedly raped in 2018.
Shiloh Young, 19, testified that she was 17 years old when she sent Miller a photo of herself to help her deal with body image issues she was having at the time, the Great Falls Tribune reported.
Young said she married Miller three months ago.
“William is a kind, compassionate, empathetic man. Never has he manipulated or controlled me,” she told Cascade County District Court Judge Elizabeth Best. “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.”
Under the terms of the plea agreement, Miller was allowed to plead guilty to a single felony count of possession of child pornography, Larsen told The Police Tribune on Friday.
Miller also pleaded guilty to a single misdemeanor count of unsworn falsification to authorities, the Great Falls Tribune reported.
He faced up to 10 years in prison on the felony charge, which is not subject to a mandatory minimum, Larsen told The Police Tribune.
Per the terms of the plea agreement, the prosecutor did not make any recommendations to the court regarding Miller’s sentencing, Larsen noted.
He told The Police Tribune that the agreement was established because the victim “was not in favor of prosecution,” and because “all of the charged images were of the same person.”
Best ultimately deferred imposition of sentence on Miller’s felony count for one year, the Great Falls Tribune reported.
In the event Miller successfully completes an outpatient sexual offender treatment program and abides by the other conditions of his sentence, the conviction will be removed from his record after the one-year probationary period.
Best sentenced Miller to 180 days in jail for the misdemeanor charge, gave him credit for 384 days served, and ordered that the sentence run concurrently with his felony probation, the Great Falls Tribune reported.
Best noted that she could not consider all 64 charges Miller initially faced because he was only convicted of the single felony count due to the terms of the plea agreement.
“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,” she said, according to the Great Falls Tribune. “They’re very, very loaded charges. They’re very difficult charges to defend against.”
The judge said that the lenient sentence was warranted because Miller was considered to be a low-level sex offender and had no prior felonies on his record.
Larsen told The Police Tribune he was unable to discuss the reasons why the allegations made by the 14-year-old girl were not prosecuted.
“I can’t disclose the details on that, but we would not have been able to meet our burden had that matter gone to trial,” he said.
If Miller successfully completes his one-year probation sentence, he will also be eligible to have his name removed from the sex offender registry, the Great Falls Tribune reported.