Timeline with links
- What follows is a chronological summary of events with (hopefully) live links to documents about the case so that you can judge things for yourself. The documents are also available in the same order on the Documents page. See the ones on that page called "More Definitive Statement" and "Church attorney told the bishop" if you just want just a snapshot.
- Summer-Fall 2008. Parishioners started to leave the parish because of how they or others were treated by Rev. Miller. Some who stayed complained to Rev. Miller. The church sexton was fired abruptly, apparently without proper process, and replaced with a community activitist. Incidents on church property requiring police response rose several-fold.
- Winter-Spring 2009. About a dozen parishioners complained about Rev. Miller’s behavior to the Calvary Church board of directors (vestry). Most complaints were about his pastoral duties, including disregard for parishioners and factual accuracy, personnel policies, and violations of confidence.
- Mar-Apr 2009. A parishioner volunteer at church dinners for the street population was assaulted twice by one of the men while working on church property. The second assault resulted in a police citation against the assailant who had more than 80 prior police contacts and at least 15 arrests in the previous three years. Rev. Miller first publicly denied the assault and said that the assailant was innocent, later said that the attack was provoked, and consistently tried to discredit the victim's credibility.
- June 2009. The impact of the parish on the community was discussed at a public meeting attended by members of the police and City Council, parishioners, and business people. During the meeting, Rev. Miller again denied the victim’s account of her assault, and denied the police version of the church’s deleterious impact.
- July 2009. Parishioners, not all of whom signed the eventual complaint, met with vestry leaders to present information gathered during the previous year. No action was taken.
- Summer-Fall 2009. After no progress was made with the vestry, parishioners and community members sent written complaints about Rev. Miller to the bishop, Rev. Mary Gray-Reeves. Victims and other parishioners then met with the bishop who asked them to trust her to address the problem and not file a formal complaint. The bishop placed Rev. Miller under “pastoral direction," a form of church discipline, but did not refer the case to the Diocesan disciplinary committee as normally required by the church.
- Oct 14, 2009. A vestry member was raped in her home by someone who stole nothing. The assailant remains at large but police continue to investigate whether it was retaliation for her raising issues critical of Rev. Miller during mediation sessions led by Rev. Linda Taylor. Since the mediation sessions were open only to vestry members, many parishioners asked her to voice their concerns about Rev. Miller in the hope/belief that the bishop would then hear of their concerns and something would be done.
- Jan-Feb 2010. Prior to the annual meeing there was an active campaign against vestry candidates who had complained about Rev. Miller's behavior. At the meeting, public pledges of support for Rev. Miller were requested of candidates prior to the election. Those who could not, in good conscience, guarantee support were not elected. Complainants met with the new vestry leadership but made no progress.
- Mar 29, 2010. Nine parishioners summarized complaints about Rev. Miller in a letter to the Diocese that formally charged him with professional misconduct (conduct unbecoming to a member of the clergy) under the laws (canons) of the Episcopal Church.
- Apr 2010. The Diocesan disciplinary committee reviewed the charges and agreed that, if confirmed, they were serious enough to constitute professional misconduct in the Episcopal Church. The committee required the Diocese to hire a private attorney to investigate the matter and write a report to them about it. The attorney interviewed widely, including parishioners, Rev. Miller, business people, and city officials.
- Aug 2010. After review of the attorney’s report, the Diocesan disciplinary committee issued an indictment (presentment) against Rev. Miller. The indictment asserted that Rev. Miller could not be trusted by civil authorities and the police which brought “material discredit” to the church; and that his ongoing pattern of interactions with some parishioners, especially as regards their personal confidences, violated his baptismal vows. Rev. Miller had four months to respond – did he plead innocent or guilty?
- Dec 2010-April 2011. Rather than respond, on the last possible day Rev. Miller moved to dismiss the presentment by alleging that the charges were filed improperly, the complainants were not technically in good standing with the church despite their many years of service, and the presentment was vague. To refute these allegations, the victims/complainants had to prove their identity, baptism, church attendance, and financial contributions. (Some parts of this and other documents have been redacted in the online version to exclude sensitive information and as a precaution against retaliation.) Some local priests later apologized for "mis-remembering" what they said in sworn documents. The Trial Court denied the motion and required a More Definite Statement of charges prior to trial. Rev. Miller moved to dismiss a second time which the court again denied and set a trial date in early May. Rev. Miller finally responded not guilty in May but, because of the delays, the trial had to be re-scheduled to September.
- June 2011. Having twice failed to avoid trial by getting the charges dismissed, Rev. Miller finally negotiated a “Voluntary Submission” to ecclesiastical discipline just weeks before the deadline to submit his materials for the trial. This process allows the bishop rather than court to decide the sentence. Bishop Gray-Reeves decided her sentence prior to learning the results of the church attorney’s investigations that had cost the Diocese more than $15,000 of parishioners’ money. She then met with the Calvary vestry to announce her proposed sentence and say that she was not open to changing it. The following week, Rev. Miller announced in sermons and a newsletter that the case had been settled even though it had not yet been. Church laws require the bishop to consult the church attorney and victims/complainants prior to imposing a sentence. She gave them seven working days to respond to her proposal while she was traveling and could not be reached. Her lawyer told them that they could forfeit their right to be “heard” if they did not meet the deadline. In response, thechurch attorney told the bishop that he believed the evidence was strong enough for him to win a conviction in court. The victims/complainants asked the bishop to learn the results of the church attorney’s investigation before issuing a final sentence, and requested a public apology from Rev. Miller to those he harmed, written by the church attorney.
- July, 2011. The church attorney explained the legal case and evidence against Rev. Miller to the bishop, including that the case did not depend on the original complainants. The victims/complainants met with the bishop for two hours to explain their reasons, rooted in the Prayer Book and their personal experience, for recommending a public apology and allocution. The bishop replied that the case was just an instance of “He said, She said” despite knowing the results of the church attorney's year-long investigations. On July 20, Rev. Miller signed a Voluntary Submission and Bishop Gray-Reeves announced her final sentence, thereby averting a trial 11 months after it was called for in the indictment. Five days later, the victims/complainants were notified. The final sentence was the same as the proposed one. It only requires a mandatory psychiatric assessment whose results can be considered in future discipline, and mandatory quarterly ‘coaching’ of Rev. Miller for the duration of his employment at Calvary. There was no remedy for victims or the community. "Being heard" was an empty formality.
- The only significant change in the final sentence is that the bishop allowed Rev. Miller to add a statement that he admitted no guilt even though the church attorney said that a voluntary submission implies accepting responsibility for the charges in the presentment. They are cited as the rationale for the sentence.
- Although church rules (Canon IV.12.9) require that notice of a sentence be sent to all clergy and vestries in the Diocese and to the national archives, and be placed in the official records of the Diocese, that was not done. It is only available here.
- In August 2010, the same bishop who negotiated the end of Rev. Miller’s trial (Gray-Reeves), also voted to overturn the conviction of her fellow bishop, Rev. Charles Bennison of Pennsylvania, by another church Trial Court for covering up the sexual abuse of a 14-year old girl. As a result, he was re-instated as bishop over the objection of his Diocese. He said that the charges were “without merit” and politically motivated by those who disagreed with him (sound familiar?). The over-turn cited the expiration of the statute of limitations for a cover-up.
Follow this link to review the separate documents.