Virginia Man Sentenced to Three Years in Prison for Helping Ex-Lesbian Flee Country With Daughter

BUFFALO, N.Y. — A Virginia man who was found guilty last September of international parental kidnapping and conspiracy for helping an ex-lesbian flee the country with her daughter has been sentenced to three years in prison.

“In truth, I was not at all motivated by Lisa Miller’s and Janet Jenkins’ lifestyle,” Philip Zodhiates told the court on Wednesday, according to the Buffalo News. “That’s their choice and it’s not my role to change that.”

As previously reported, Zodhiates is the son of the late Dr. Spiros Zodhiates, a Greek-born Bible scholar who founded the missions and relief ministry Advancing the Ministries of the Gospel International (AMG). His father also published the Hebrew-Greek KeyWord Study Bible and was a radio and television host, teaching on the New Testament from its original Greek meaning.

Zodhiates and his wife have six children, all adopted. Attorney Robert Hemley, who represented the Virginia businessman in court, described him as a “unique and special individual” who seeks to help others. He said that Zodhiates was not aware of Miller’s full intentions.

“Lisa’s secrecy and deception should not rub off on Philip,” Hemley stated. “There is no such thing as guilt by association.”

However, he also cast doubts on Jenkins’ parental rights during the trial, noting that “Lisa Miller is the biological mother; Janet Jenkins never decided to adopt.”

Zodhiates made similar statements about his motivations before he was sentenced, outlining that he believes “we’re put on earth to make a difference,” and that was all he sought to do—to help a woman who said she was in need. He said it was not his objective to keep the ex-lesbian’s former partner away from the child.

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286 letters had been filed with the court in support of Zodhiates.

Prosecutor Paul Van de Graaf, however, asserted that Zodhiates wasn’t just answering a request for help.

“This is not a case about helping someone,” the assistant U.S. attorney told the court. “He chose sides in a fight. And when you choose sides in a fight, you choose to hurt one side.”

As previously reported, Zodhiates was placed on trial on Sept. 20 after being indicted on accusations that he drove Miller to Buffalo, New York, where she then took a taxi the rest of the way and crossed Niagara Fall’s Rainbow Bridge into Canada. (See the indictment here.) The trial was consequently held in Buffalo as the accused crimes took place within its jurisdiction.

During the trial, the prosecution presented numerous witnesses, including Miller’s own father, Terry Miller, who painted a strained relationship with his daughter, calling her “hard-headed,” “introverted” and “very much secretive.” He testified that she asked him to call Zodhiates to provide the location of the Walmart where she was waiting, but said he did not know why and did not ask.

Janet Jenkins, Miller’s former partner, also testified, stating that she is determined to do “anything and everything” to get the child, now 14, back. Jenkins is now “married” to another woman, and they raise a two-year-old together.

She said that the two separated after their relationship went downhill following an IVF miscarriage.

Miller had previously been married to Kirk McConchie, her college sweetheart, but the marriage was very brief.

The Washington Post reported in 2007 that Miller struggled with being intimate with her husband due to a physically and emotionally abusive childhood, which adversely affected their marriage.

“I tried [to secretly date men],” Lisa told the outlet at the that time, advising that her mother, who she described as “mentally ill,” forbid her from having relationships with men. “She would always find out. ‘All men are evil.’ That’s what I grew up with. ‘They only want one thing.’”

She said that she turned to alcohol in an attempt to deal with her problems, and soon ended up in AA, where she met lesbian Janet Jenkins and entered into a relationship with her, although “I did not feel sexually attracted to women.”

In 2000, Miller joined in a civil union with Jenkins in the state of Vermont, one of the few states that allowed homosexual arrangements at the time. Following an artificial insemination procedure from a male sperm donor, Miller gave birth to a daughter, named Isabella, in 2002.

But even then, Miller had concern.

“There were numerous incidents of Janet going to [the Internet] and putting up naked women on the screen saver, and I would ask her to please change it,” Lisa later told the court, according to the Washington Post.

“I don’t have clean hands, either. Previously, before … the baby was born, [pornography] was used in our relationship,” she said. “When we moved to Vermont, Isabella was 4 months old, and I said this stuff has to go … There’s a baby in this house now. I don’t want that.”

In 2003, Miller and Jenkins split over continued tension in their relationship, part of which involved the miscarriage of Miller’s second pregnancy, and Miller moved to Virginia. She renounced her involvement in homosexuality and reportedly turned to Jesus Christ to be born again.

“It wasn’t a struggle,” she recalled of walking away from the homosexual lifestyle. “I felt peace.”

When the civil union between Miller and Jenkins 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 a while, she reportedly became concerned at the information that her daughter was providing to her following the visitations.

Later, Miller wrote in affidavits 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.

Miller and Isabella

“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 reporters 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. She told the Washington Post, “I don’t see Janet as a parent, first and foremost. Secondly, I don’t want to expose Isabella to Janet’s lifestyle. It goes against all my beliefs. I am raising Isabella to pattern herself after Christ. That’s my job as a Christian mom. Homosexuality is a sin.”

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 and ordered Miller to hand the child over to Jenkins.

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. It was later discovered that they had fled to Nicaragua via the help of a number of Mennonite Christians and their contacts.

Mennonite pastor Ken Miller is currently serving 27 months behind bars for his alleged part in the escape. As previously reported, he was held in contempt September for refusing to testify against Zodhiates “for reasons of faith and conscience.”

Timothy Miller, a Mennonite pastor in Nicaragua, was arrested shortly thereafter and deported back to the United States. He plead guilty in December and now awaits sentencing.

Zodhiates was the only non-Mennonite involved in the matter. None of the Millers are related.


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  • Grace Kim Kwon

    Exposure to homosexuality is a child-abuse. All children have rights to innocence, morality, and normality. Immorality hurts children and hinders the truth.
    Jesus said, “Let the little children come to Me, and do not forbid them; for of such is the kingdom of heaven.” (Matthew chapter 19)

    • RWH

      The courts, basing their decisions upon expert testimony and scientific research, do not see things as you see them. And that’s what counts. The research is out there. Children raised by “gay” parents not only turn out to be heterosexual, but they are remarkably well-adjusted and happy. It really pays off to do some solid research.

    • Johndoe

      Homosexuals have been shown to be just as good at parenting as their heterosexual counterparts. Any proof to the contrary?

      • Grace Kim Kwon

        No, this news is another proof that your point is wrong. Exposure to homosexuality is a child-abuse, and it causes pedophilia because Sodomic society makes everything as a sex object. It’s stunning that the hedonists (addicts to sexual depravity) reign in the Western nations, but they are left alone by the mass. When the Christian depost exhausts, the civilization will collapse. God sentenced judgment on immoral nations.

        • Johndoe

          Any proof to back up your nonsensical rant?

          • Grace Kim Kwon

            The proof – today’s Western Europe and all the former British colonies. White people have no morality other than Christianity, and they always need the Holy Bible for sane morality and human rights and freedom and equality. It’s tragic for all mankind to be oppressed by the Western whites and their mental slaves for refusing to serve their homosexual inclinations. The West is never sorry for its evil slavery. Raw mankind is barbaric. Freedom is in keeping God’s truth. John 8.

          • Johndoe

            Your religion isn’t needed for morality. Are christians sorry for enslaving the native Americans? Nope.

          • Grace Kim Kwon

            Yes, only the Christians are sorry for all wrong-doings; that’s why Christians alone fight for everyone’s justice on earth.The Native Americans should be sorry for worshiping demons and abusing women and children and other tribes and killing the Europeans and being illiterate barbaric as well. It’s both ways. No tribe is innocent on Planet Earth.

            Today’s Western whites should be sorry for blaspheming, killing the babies, committing suicide, forcing Earthlings the sexually depraved culture, bashing their Christian ancestors and Christian forefathers who are morally far better than all moderners, putting colored people in the same category with sexual pervs, and placing perv men in women’s restrooms.

            Today’s secular people are more evil than all of history combined.

          • Johndoe

            You should be sorry for insulting Americans. Where do you come up with the native Americans worshipping demons? Blatant lie at best. They worshipped the great spirit, Mother Earth. If knew anything about our history , you would know that bit of fact. Also, the ones doing the abusing and killings were the white settlers who came an invaded the lands of the native Americans.
            As far as modern secular people, I would put them above hypocrites like yourself any day. You seem to live in the past whereas the rest of us live in the present.

          • Grace Kim Kwon

            You are wrong. All pagans worship demons; idols are demons. “Mother” Earth hates mankind and wants everyone dead. God alone has mercy on sinful mankind. Western moderners prohibit morality and force everyone to submit to their Sodomic practices. No slavery to rich Western pervs. Never again. Bake your own filthy cakes. Sodom will be destroyed by fire. Read Jude 1.

  • Michael C

    …Zodhiates was not aware of Miller’s full intentions. “Lisa’s secrecy and deception should not rub off on Philip,” Hemley stated. “There is no such thing as guilt by association.”

    So, a woman (who you know has been involved in a heated custody battle and who was now losing primary custody of her daughter for refusing to allow the other parent visitation of their child as ordered by the court) calls you up and asks you to transport her and her child across the border into another country and you’re claiming that you had no idea that you were involving yourself in a kidnapping?

    Bottom line, your religious beliefs do not entitle you cut a child’s parent out of their lives. Both parents have rights.

    • Jason Todd

      I rest my case.

      • Johndoe

        You shouldn’t

    • Luminous

      Homosexuals – always pretending to be experts in children.

      Your interest in other people’s children is extremely unhealthy.

      • Ambulance Chaser

        Is there some point you’d like to make that’s relevant to this article?

    • Delectable

      Old skinhead

    • John

      Miller is a wonderful mother protecting her daughter from a lesbian lifestyle and all the dangerous that go with it, She is a heroin and everyone that helped her are heroes. There is no such thing as a homosexual marriage it is a modern invention of people that are living in a tremendous delusion.

      • Chris

        “Miller is a wonderful mother protecting her daughter from a lesbian
        lifestyle and all the dangerous that go with it,”

        What dangers would those be? please provide peer reviewed data to back up your claim.

        “There is no such thing as a
        homosexual marriage it is a modern invention of people that are living
        in a tremendous delusion.”

        Actually there have been many examples of SSMs throughout history.
        Evidence of same sex marriages have been found in:
        Medieval China
        Ancient Egypt
        Ancient Mesopotamia
        Classical Greece
        Classical Rome
        Not to mention a number of Amerindian and Aboriginal tribes.

        Would you care to retract your statement that homosexual marriage is a modern invention?

  • Jason Todd

    As previously reported, Zodhiates was placed on trial on Sept. 20 after being indicted on accusations that he drove Miller to Buffalo, New York, where she then crossed the Rainbow Bridge into Canada. The trial was consequently held in Buffalo as the accused crimes took place within its jurisdiction.

    The Rainbow Bridge is located in Niagara Falls. Not Buffalo. So either it was the Peace Bridge or it happened in Niagara Falls.

    • Luminous

      You are aware that Buffalo and Niagara Falls are just a few miles apart, right? It makes perfect sense that someone drover her to Buffalo, and that crossed the Rainbow Bridge at Niagara Falls.

      You don’t sound very bright.

      • Jason Todd

        I know how far apart they are, because I lived in Buffalo for four years. I lived where Lake Erie became the Niagara River. I also frequently visited Niagara Falls, always crossing the Rainbow Bridge to get to Canadian side (because all the action was there, not the American side).

        It takes approximately an hour to drive from Buffalo to Niagara Falls, depending on traffic and time of day.

        You sound like you just got owned.

  • Jason Todd

    Please bear in mind there will be people who will say Lisa Miller somehow broke the law for keeping a child from another parent.

    What they will not say is the child had absolutely no biological ties to this other “parent,” and there was good reason to believe this “parent” was subjecting this child to at the very least sexual abuse. And the judge was guided totally and completely by politics, not the child’s best interests, which are paramount in child custody cases.

    This is because facts frequently get in the way of the LGBTQW agenda.

    • Ambulance Chaser

      There wasn’t good reason. That accusation had been litigated and found to be without merit.

      I don’t know what the point of getting a ruling on an issue is if you think one party can just ignore it when they don’t like it.

    • james blue

      So if a married heterosexual couple has one sterile partner and they produce a child by artificial insemination or use a surrogate so at least one of them has no biological ties to their child, that parent has no custody rights should they divorce?

      If the tables were turned and the biological mother was the one who ‘remained’ a lesbian and her partner became a Christian would you support the lesbian running to escape allowing visitation to the Christian ex?

      • RWH

        If a “sterile” couple decides to use a surrogate, smart couples get a lawyer involved and a contract is signed. In most cases the surrogate loses all rights.

        • james blue

          Not the question I asked. My question was about the married couple, not the surrogate.

          • RWH

            That is why I answered you that the couple and the surrogate should sign a contract. This makes everything clear. The married couple is the one that signs the birth certificate, but it is still a good idea to have everything spelled out in writing in the event that the surrogate tries to impose herself after the child is born..

          • james blue

            Again, not the question I asked, It was specifically about biological ties in the event that the couple splits as in the article. The sperm donor isn’t part of the case in the article, the question I asked was about a situation the same as the one in the article, but with a heterosexual couple.

          • Michael C

            I believe james blue is making an “apples to apples” comparison between a gay couple who conceives via IVF versus a straight couple who conceives via IVF. He is explaining that, legally, a gay couple is to be treated no differently than a straight couple.

            If the the procedures are handled through a sperm bank, the contracts are with that company.

            Surrogacy contracts are another topic entirely but in those cases, too, gay couples and straight couples would be treated no differently.

          • Jason Todd

            But same-sex couples are different from normal couples.

          • RWH

            I’m not sure what you are asking. In every state I am aware of, the married couple is the one that puts its names on the birth certificate. That is a legal document of ownership of the child. However, as with a surrogate situation, a contract is the best way to protect the rights of the couple. A few interesting court cases show that the birth certificate is what counts. Grandparents have discovered that they have no inalienable rights to see their grandchildren if the parents refuse to give them contact. Surrogate mothers have also been refused the right to visit with a child since their names are not on the birth certificate. Again, a written contract settles all the issues and makes all the parameters clear to all.

          • james blue

            The original post I asked the question about was this —“What they will not say is the child had absolutely no biological ties to this other “parent,”

            The question is to the author of that comment to find out if he only applies this to “the gays” or if he applies it to heterosexual couples with a child born of similar biological ties.

          • RWH

            I don’t know for a fact what the law says, but surrogacy seems to be a gray area. In the past, when surrogates challenged custody, the courts have ruled in favor of the couple. I do know that lawyers insist that a contract be signed that stipulates the rights of the surrogate mother, if any. The couple has the right to deprive the surrogate any contact whatsoever.

          • james blue

            Okay……….My question has nothing to do with surrogacy other than as an example of how one parent could have “no biological tie” to the child. It’s not about a surrogate seeking access or custody. The surrogate is irrelevant to the question.

      • bwaldners

        If there was sexual abuse involved most certainly that parent should lose all parental rights just as in all other sexual abuse cases the perpetrator is put in prison and the child is not subjected to further sexual abuse and harassment.

        • james blue

          But there is no evidence of abuse

    • RWH

      The problem with this logic is that officials got involved once the charges were made, and they were found to be baseless. The other problem was that Lisa Miller was coaching her child to say things. The child said one thing when in the presence of the mother and then something completely different when she was interviewed without her mother present. The court transcripts should be easy to find, and that stuff is documented in the transcripts.

  • tedlickb

    It’s a shame he only got three years.

    • 0pus

      You left the “r” out of your name.

  • Woe to these judges that make a man an offender for a word, and lay a snare for him that reproveth in the gate, and turn aside the just for a thing of nought.

  • C_Alan_Nault

    Gay is a sin. Repent now

  • John

    There is no such thing as homosexual marriage. This is a modern invention of darkened minds that are in totally rebellion against God and his word. Homosexual activity falls under what the Bible calls in a general term fornication.

    • Chris

      I’ve already refuted this post the last time you posted exactly the same message. Would you care to retract it?

      • David Stoneslinger

        And who are you to give orders, missy?

        • Chris

          I wasn’t aware that a question is an order, missy.

  • Grace Kim Kwon

    Yes. Western Christians must fight against this tyranny-by-Sodomites in the land. The villains are going to legalize pedophilia. God will strike the whole civilization as being unable to stop the Sodomites is the Christendom’s fault.

  • Grace Kim Kwon

    Secular Western culture is prohibiting morality this century. The insanity in the Western Sodom has been rather fast. Every normal person must wake up.