Mennonite Pastor Convicted for Helping Ex-Lesbian Appeals Order to Testify

An attorney for a Mennonite pastor that was convicted for providing assistance to an ex-lesbian has filed an appeal to overturn a district court order that the pastor testify in another case involving a man that is facing criminal charges for his involvement in the matter.

Joshua Autry of Camp Hill, Pennsylvania says that he is asking the Second Circuit Court of Appeals to vacate an order from U.S. District Court Judge William Sessions, seeking the testimony of Kenneth Miller of Stuarts Draft, Virginia.

As previously reported, Miller was convicted in August for helping Lisa Miller (no relation) and her young daughter Isabella travel to Buffalo, New York, where they crossed the border into Canada and then escaped to Nicaragua. Miller, a former lesbian who turned to Christ in 2003, had been threatened by family court judge Richard Cohen that if Miller did not allow her daughter to have visitations with her former partner, Janet Jenkins, 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. It was also found that Pastor Kenneth Miller had a part helping Miller flee the country.

“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,” Kenneth Miller’s website,  explains. “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.”

On August 14th, a jury declared Miller guilty of aiding and abetting kidnapping after four hours of deliberation.

Miller is scheduled to testify in front of a grand jury next month in a case involving a second man that was charged, but Autry is seeking to block the mandate, stating that Miller has the right to avoid “self-incrimination.” Autry also says that Miller’s testimony would be conducted without the presence of an attorney, which he contends is improper.

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Miller faces a maximum sentence of three years in federal prison. A scheduling date has not yet been set.

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