Tuesday, July 11, 2006
By RAELYNN RICARTE
News staff writer
June 28, 2006
A Hood River man was sentenced on Monday to 75 months in prison for sexually abusing and sodomizing a 9-year-old girl.
Jon Eric Miller, 58, of Belmont Avenue admitted to Judge Donald Hull that he had committed the crimes from September of 1993 to June of 1994. He also acknowledged inappropriately touching the breasts of another girl under the age of 14, although no charges were brought against him for that incident.
“I just want the court to know that I’ve done a horrible thing. I am so remorseful that it can’t ever be expressed adequately. It’s a tragedy,” said Miller.
Even though he had been charged with molesting only one victim, Judge Donald Hull directed the defendant to pay each of the two females $5,000 to cover counseling costs.
After he is released from prison, Miller will spend 180 months on parole and be required to register as a sex offender for life.
Deputy District Attorney Carrie Rasmussen read a letter from the primary victim outlining the damage brought by Miller’s abuse. The woman said that she had struggled emotionally throughout her teenage and young adult years.
“I have spent thousands of dollars trying to heal and move on in my life,” she wrote.
However, Miller’s victim also believed the actions taken against her were more a “crime of convenience” than predatory. She felt that Miller posed no danger to the community and should be put into a treatment program instead of prison.
However, state sentencing guidelines required that Miller spend time behind bars. That mandate led Jack Morris, defense attorney, to register a complaint about Oregon’s penal code.
“He’s here because he’s taken responsibility for the matter and I think it take a lots of guts to do that,” he said. “We have a system that’s broken and this case is a perfect example of that. There are no checks and balances anymore.”
However, in a follow-up interview, Rasmussen disagreed with Morris’ comments. She said Miller had committed the crimes prior to the passage of Measure 11 in 1996. Therefore, instead of having more time in prison, he had received the lesser penalty based on the more lenient law in place at the time of his actions.
Under the Measure 11 rating system, Rasmussen said the sodomy charge against Miller was ranked at level 10, just one point below murder.
“I’ve never heard anywhere in the history of Oregon where somebody could sodomize a little girl and only get probation. This is a serious crime and has always carried a prison sentence,” she said.
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Parkdale third graders sing "12 Disaster Days of Christmas"
Welcome to your sing-able Christmas gift list. What follows is an emergency rendition of “12 Days of Christmas” – for outfitting your home or car in case of snow storm, earthquake, flood or other emergency. Read it as a simple list, or sing it to the tune of “12 Days” – you know, as in “ … and a partridge in a pear tree…” Not to make light of it, but the song is a familiar framework for a set of gift ideas that you could consider gathering together, even if the recipient already owns items such as a bunch of coats, tire chains and flashlights. Stores throughout the Gorge are stocked up on all these items. Buying all 12 days might be prohibitive, but here are three ideas for checking any of the dozen off your list (notations follow, 1-12.) The gift items needed to stay warm, dry and safe are also coded to suggest items in your abode (A) in your car (C) or both (B). 12 Gallons of Water (A) 11 Family meals (B) 10 Cans of propane (A) 9 Hygiene bags (B) 8 Packs of batteries (A) 7 Spare coats (B) 6 Bright red flares (C) 5 Cozy blankets (B) 4 Tire chains (C) 3 Flashlights (B) 2 cell phone chargers (B) 1 And a crush-proof first aid kit (B) Price ranges? Here’s a few quotes for days Three, Two, Four and Nine: n A family gift of flashlights (three will run $15-30, Hood River Supply, Tum-A-Lum) n Cell phone chargers (two will run $30-60) n Tire chains (basic set, $30, Les Schwab, returnable if unused for the winter) n Family meals ($100 or so should cover the basics for three or four reasonably well-fed days) n The home kit should be kept in a handy place near an exit, and remember that water needs to be replenished every few months. If you have a solid first aid kit already, switch out the gift idea with “and-a-sto-o-u-t- tub-for it-all …” Otherwise, it’s a case of assembling your home or car kits and making sure all members of the family know what the resources are and how to use them (ie flares and propane). Emergency situations are at worst life-threatening, at best deeply uncomfortable if you and your family are left without power for an extended period, or traveling and find yourself in a situation where you need to wait out a storm, lengthy traffic delay, or other crisis. Notes on the 12 gift ideas: 12 – Gallons of water: that’s one per person in a four-member family to last for three days, the recommended minimum to be prepared for utility outages. 11 – Easy-open packaged goods, energy bars, dried food and nuts are good things to include for nutrition. Think of what your family of four needs for three days to stay fortified and hydrated (see number 12). Can-opener also recommended 10 – If you have a propane camping stove, keep extra fuel handy. 9 – Hygiene bags: put packaged moistened towelettes, toilet paper, and plastic ties in large garbage bags (for personal sanitation) Resource list courtesy of Hood River County Emergency Management, Barbara Ayers, manager/ 541-386-1213. The county also reminds residents to Get a Kit, Make A Plan to connect your family if separated, and Stay Informed. See www.co.hood-river.or.us to opt-in for citizen alerts. Enlarge