A Mennonite pastor is scheduled to stand trial next month in a federal court in Vermont for helping an ex-lesbian who fled the country with her daughter to avoid transferring parental custody to her former partner.
Kenneth Miller is facing charges of aiding and abetting kidnapping following accusations that he assisted Lisa Miller (no relation) with traveling to Virginia to Buffalo, New York with her daughter in 2009, so that she could flee to Canada. In addition to not wanting her child to be raised in the homosexual lifestyle, Miller believed that her daughter was being traumatized from alleged activities taking place between her partner and her daughter. Kenneth Miller states that he helped the woman out of Biblical compassion.
The situation began in 2000, when Lisa Miller, then a homosexual, joined in a civil union with lesbian Janet Jenkins in the state of Vermont. Following an artificial insemination procedure, Miller gave birth to baby Isabella in 2002.
In 2003, Miller and Jenkins split, and Miller moved to Virginia. She renounced homosexuality and reportedly turned to Jesus Christ for salvation.
When the civil union was officially dissolved, the court gave custody to Miller, while also granting visitation rights to Jenkins.
While Miller did allow Isabella to spend time with Jenkins for awhile, she reportedly became very concerned at the information that her daughter was providing to her following the visitations. Later, Miller testified to the court that the visits were causing great trauma to Isabella. She claimed that at six years old, the girl was forced to take baths together with Jenkins, and that the girl was openly touching herself inappropriately. She also stated that Isabella was withdrawn and talked about suicide at times.
“Isabella came home and said, ‘Mommy, will you please tell Janet that I don’t have to take a bath anymore at her house,’” Miller told LifeSite News in 2008. “I asked her what happened. She said, ‘Janet took a bath with me.’ I asked her if she had a bathing suit on. ‘No, Mommy.’ She had no clothes on and it totally scared Isabella. She had never seen this woman except once in 2 ½ years and she takes a bath with her.”
“Last year, Isabella put a comb up to her neck and said she wanted to kill herself after one of the visits,” she outlined. “She took a comb and pressed it into her neck and said, ‘I want to kill myself.’ I don’t know where she got that. It was immediately after a visit. Other people have seen huge changes.”
Miller then filed for exclusive custody of Isabella, and the court agreed. However, Jenkins fought the ruling all the way up to the Virginia Supreme Court, which in 2008, ruled in favor of granting Miller’s former lesbian partner visitation rights. Miller refused.
The following year, family court judge Richard Cohen warned Miller that she must allow Isabella to visit Jenkins and threatened that if she did not do so, he would transfer full custody to Jenkins. In November 2009, Cohen followed through with his threats.
However, Miller had fled the country with Isabella before he issued the transfer order, and for some time, none knew the whereabouts of the two. Information later turned up that Miller and Isabella had taken refuge in Nicaragua.
“I did not divorce my child, I divorced my partner. Yet, I’ve missed out on my child’s kindergarten graduation. I’ll never get that back. I don’t even get to talk to my daughter on the phone. It’s heinous what has transpired,” Jenkins told Newsweek Magazine.
While it is not known as to exactly how Ken Miller, a Mennonite, became involved with Lisa Miller, his website, MillerCase.org, does outline some of the circumstances surrounding the situation.
“It was in very painful circumstances that Lisa came to the Anabaptists in Virginia for help, which as a follower of Jesus, Ken could not ignore,” the site states. “Ken supported Lisa’s desire to remove herself and Isabella from former relationships which were not in accord with Jesus’ standard. However, he felt only love and compassion for Lisa’s former partner and others involved.”
“In April of , Timo Miller was arrested in connection with Lisa and Isabella’s disappearance. In October, all charges against Timo were dropped,” it states. “The story continues with a criminal complaint from the Federal Government now being brought against Ken Miller, an Anabaptist pastor from Virginia.”
After a criminal complaint was filed against Ken Miller in November 2011, he traveled to Vermont to self-surrender to authorities, and was released on $10,000 bond.
Although attorneys for Miller sought to have the case dismissed, the courts have denied the requests and have ordered the trial to move forward, pursuing charges against Miller for allegedly “aiding and abetting an international parental kidnapping in violation of 18 U.S.C. § 1204 and 18 U.S.C. § 2.”
At a pre-trial conference in Burlington, Vermont yesterday, Judge William Sessions scheduled the official trial for August 7th. According to reports, prosecutors asked that Miller not be allowed to argue obedience to God’s law over man’s law during the trial. Miller’s attorneys stated that it would not be a part of their argument.
“Nothing can take my freedom away,” Ken said on his website, “because I have already surrendered it to Jesus of Nazareth.”
It is not known if Lisa Miller remains in Nicaragua at this time. It is reported that an individual from Canada has also been charged for allegedly assisting Miller to flee to Nicaragua.