Great Falls, Montana – In what has been described as a shockingly lenient sentence, 51-year-old William Edward Miller Jr. received a mere one-year prison term on Monday, accompanied by deferred sentencing and unsupervised probation. This controversial outcome was the result of a plea deal that was agreed upon earlier this year.
Under the terms of the deferred sentence, if Miller successfully abides by the law for one year, the felony charge will be expunged from his criminal record. The Great Falls Tribune reported that all but two charges were dismissed in Miller’s plea agreement.
The allegations against Miller surfaced in February 2019 when he was accused of sexually assaulting a 14-year-old girl and permitting an 11-year-old boy to do the same. Subsequently, in August 2019, Miller was charged with a staggering 64 counts of child sexual abuse. The charges included disturbing accusations of possessing explicit images involving bestiality and child pornography found on his laptop and phone.
During the court proceedings, Miller entered guilty pleas before Cascade County District Judge Elizabeth Beth. He faced felony charges for sexually abusing children, as well as a misdemeanor charge for providing false information to authorities.
Judge Beth handed down a sentence of six months imprisonment for the misdemeanor charge, taking into account the 384 days Miller had already served. In regard to the felony charge, Miller was given a deferred one-year sentence and ordered to undergo sex offender treatment. Both sentences were to be served concurrently.
Remarkably, Miller’s sentence solely pertained to one count of sexual abuse of children, which was related to a single photograph involving a 17-year-old individual who is now 19 years old. It is worth noting that Miller and this individual have been married for three months.
Critics argue that William Edward Miller Jr.’s punishment was excessively lenient considering the multitude of charges dropped. The severity of the remaining counts should have warranted a far more severe sentence.