A storybook example of the Archdiocese’s current handling of allegations of child sex abuse, the case of Fr. Gary Miller shows the ineffectiveness of background checks and the acumen of an accused predator when it comes to avoiding civil and criminal liability and supervision.
Miller was ordained a priest in 1972. By the time an alleged victim came forward in June 2012, Miller had undergone the standard criminal background checks required of all priests, employees and volunteers. The victim, who said he was abused in the early 1970s, said that he finally had the strength to come forward after hearing about the Jerry Sandusky trial.
When confronted with the allegations, Miller did not deny them, but instead said that he would “reserve his comments” for later. He also asked questions about the civil and criminal statutes of limitations that would be involved with the allegations. As a result, Leah McCluskey said that she was not comfortable leaving Miller in a parish unmonitored.
By July 2012, Miller had been removed from active ministry and the Review Board decided that the allegation had merit. Miller did not contest the board’s findings and resigned in September 2012. The parish had been notified in the end of September and both parishioners and the Archdiocese were surprised to discover that the finances of the parish and school were is chaos, with unpaid bills and threats that the school would be forced to close.
By December of 2012, Miller was living in an apartment. Neither the leasing office nor the families in the adjoining apartments knew about Miller’s past. His “monitor” lived miles away. He is under the supervisory protocols of the Archdiocese.
Although removed from ministry, Miller remains a priest.
TIMELINE OF DOCUMENTS
5/10/1972 – Assistant Pastor, St. Leonard Parish (Parish school had approx. 399 students)
6/12/1978 – Associate Pastor, St. John Bosco Parish (Parish school had approx. 644 students)
6/7/1983 – Associate Pastor, Queen of the Rosary Parish (Parish school had approx. 442 students)
6/13/1988 – Associate Pastor, St. Pascal Parish (Parish school had approx. 602 students)
8/15/1989 – Pastor, St. Pascal Parish (Parish school had approx. 242 students)
9/28/1992 Signed receipt from Miller acknowledging his familiarity with the newly adopted policies regarding sexual misconduct with minors. (AOC 017881)
7/16/2001 – Pastor, St. Bernadette Parish
5/3/2006 Authorization for Background Check for the Illinois Department of Children and Family Services signed by Miller. (AOC 017890)
7/1/2007 Term renewed at St. Bernadette by Cardinal George. (AOC 017892-93)
6/25/2012 The Archdiocese receives an allegation of abuse by Miller that occurred St. Leonard’s. (AOC 17903)
6/27/2012 Email conversation between Archdiocesan officials noting that Miller has been informed he is not to be in St. Bernadette School nor is he to be alone with anyone under the age of 18. (AOC 017915-16)
6/27/2012 Miller asks about Statute of Limitations in Illinois. Leah McCluskey provides general understanding of statute of limitations and sexual abuse. (AOC 017919)
6/30/2012 Canary notifies Miller that the matter has been reported to civil authorities. (AOC 017929-30)
6/30/2012 Letter from Msgr. Canary to Miller informing him of his restrictions while an investigation is conducted. (AOC 017929-30)
7/5/2012 Minutes from initial Review Board meeting noting that they recommend the added restriction that Miller may not engage in any public ministry. (AOC 017940, 017945)
7/12/2012 Detailed timeline and description of abuse. (AOC 017956)
7/21/2012 Review Board minutes indicating the matter warrants further review. (017990-92)
9/5/2012 Letter from Miller to Cardinal George declining to contest the allegation and requesting early retirement. (AOC 018024)
9/15/2012 Review Board minutes noting that there is reason to suspect Miller engaged in the sexual abuse of a minor. (AOC 018025-27)
9/18/2012 Miller’s resignation letter. (AOC 018029)
8/1/201 Official list of restrictions. (AOC 018111-12)