Audrain County Prosecuting Attorney Jacob Shellabarger announces that Thomas Alan Miller, 49, of Mexico, Mo., was found guilty of one count of Child Molestation in the First Degree, two counts of Statutory Sodomy in the Second Degree, two counts of Child Molestation in the Second Degree, and one count each of Child Abuse and Endangering the Welfare of a Child.
The jury found Miller guilty of each of the seven charges after deliberating for nearly five hours. Miller, who will be sentenced by Circuit Judge Wesley C. Dalton on September 19, faces a minimum of five years in prison and a maximum term of 44 years imprisonment.
Assistant Prosecuting Attorneys Ashley Turner, and Kelsey Blackwell and Shellabarger tried the case July 30 and 31 to an Audrain County jury of seven women and five men.
“Thomas Alan Miller took no responsibility for the repeated abuse, pain and suffering he caused to this survivor,” Turner said.
“This brave, smart, artistic, and beautiful young woman had the courage to rise above her abuser’s power and control to tell this jury and our community about what happened to her. Thanks to this jury’s decision, she can grow stronger, more confident and discover who she is beyond this abuse. The jury was very attentive to the evidence, and stayed focused on the facts through the entire two-day trial, and I commend them for their verdict. Child sexual abuse is a cowardly crime. It’s a secret crime that makes a child feel as if they’ve done something wrong, and can scar a child’s body and their spirit. This jury has delivered a powerful message to this community that those who hurt our most vulnerable deserve the maximum sentence the law allows.”
“Our victim’s advocate, Debra Cheshier, and our community victims’ advocacy groups, including the Audrain County Crisis Intervention Services, and the Mid-Mo Chapter of Bikers Against Child Abuse, have been patient beyond measure and supportive through the entire criminal justice process, and will continue to provide that wrap-around support that is crucial for young victims – that they are supported, safe and protected. APA’s Ashley Turner and Kelsey Blackwell’s hard work paid off in a well-tried case,” Shellabarger said. “Our community must make sure the victim-blaming mentality is put to rest, as this victim faced vicious treatment from others in the community – calling names, physical abuse – for telling the truth about her abuser.”
“The multidisciplinary team cooperative approach to working child abuse and sexual abuse cases yields better results for victims,” Shellabarger said. “This case brought together the Mexico Public Safety Department, the Rainbow House Child Advocacy Center, and my office to provide a clear, consistent and thorough investigation and prosecution with the safety of the victim and the community first. It is the team concept of experience, knowledge and combined resources allowed this case to be fully investigated and prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law and allowing justice to prevail for this family.”