A Mennonite pastor convicted last year of helping a woman flee the country with her daughter in order to keep the little girl from being handed over by court order to the woman's former lesbian partner was sentenced March 4 by a federal judge to 27 months in prison.
In 2009, Virginia Amish-Mennonite Pastor Kenneth Miller (shown, at center) helped former lesbian Lisa Miller (no relation) leave the country with her daughter, Isabella, after a court granted custody of the child to Miller's former partner, Janet Jenkins. Jenkins is not biologically related to the girl, and never went through legal proceedings to adopt her.
According to LifeSiteNews.com, the now 10-year-old girl “was conceived by artificial insemination while Jenkins and Miller were in a Vermont civil union, which was dissolved in 2003. Following the end of her relationship, Miller returned to the Baptist religion of her youth and consequently disavowed homosexual behavior. She has raised Isabella with the same values.”
Although two experts testified in sworn affidavits that Isabella suffered serious emotional trauma connected to the court-ordered visits she had with Jenkins, in 2009 a Vermont family court judge gave custody of the child to the Jenkins after Miller refused to share custody with her. However, by that time the Rev. Miller had helped the mother and child to escape to Nicaragua, where the minister's Beachy Amish sect reportedly has a mission.
While the Rev. Miller said he thought Isabella's mother retained sole custody of the child, and was not aware that he had broken the law by helping her evade Jenkins, a jury nonetheless convicted him in August 2012 of “aiding and abetting a parental kidnapping. He had remained free for over a year until federal judge William K. Sessions sentenced him to two years and three months in prison.
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Photo of Rev. Kenneth Miller leaving court after his sentencing Mar. 4: AP Images