Christopher Miller, a 42 year old pedophile who has molested children for decades may finally do some prison time. He has slipped through the system, cooperating with investigators, persuading victims and their families not to testify.
His crimes started in Southern California where he was accused of molesting two boys over an extended amount of time, and was convicted three times of possessing child pornography, but spent less than five years in custody, resuming his behavior after each release.
By 2009, he had moved to Bay Point, California and repeatedly molested an 11-year-old boy.
Now, his luck may have run out after being convicted of 29 child molestation charges, as well as a child pornography count, in late May. He could spent 69 years in prison.
Miller’s case, documented in court records, shows how the 42-year-old pedophile took advantage of the system and its victims. He brokered plea deals to get reduced sentences. He discouraged victims and family members to testify, avoiding more serious charges. He also benefited from California sentencing standards for crimes deemed neither “violent” nor “serious.”
“For more than 20 years, Miller — a predator and a con artist — groomed his child victims into believing his crimes were acts of love, and then he manipulated their mothers from reporting him to law enforcement,” said Contra Costa prosecutor Melissa Smith.
She calls Miller one of Contra Costa’s worst child sex offenders ever, one whose history offers a glimpse into how child pornography and abuse can thrive.
In the end, it took another child porn suspect using one of Miller’s own tricks against him to stop him.
In 1994, Christopher was caught in a Southern California child pornography sting. He was tricked into sending slides/photos of a young boy to the sheriff’s mailbox-along with a short letter describing the acts he committed against the 13-year-old boy.
“What a doll, huh? This is just before I started (performing oral sex). He’s a cute little guy,” he wrote in the letter.
Investigators then asked Miller, who had no criminal history at the time, to assist them in catching Southern California child porn kingpin Timothy Starcher, who had provided videos to Miller. Police feared Starcher was infecting his victims with AIDS. With Miller’s cooperation, Starcher was arrested with police finding thousands of slides of young boys, 20 videotapes and nine boxes of magazines in his apartment, among other evidence.
The boy referenced in Miller’s letter, who Miller met through a church youth ministry, refused to cooperate with police.
On June 2,1995, thanks to his cooperation with police, no child molestation charges were filed, Miller pleaded guilty to child pornography, and spent 10 days in jail, and was placed on probation.
In what would become his modus operandi, Miller later married that 13-year-old victim’s mother to gain access to that boy, the couple later had twins.
In 1999, while investigators were conducting a probation check on Miller searched his computer and found a trove of child porn images. Pedophile chat room posts were found on his work computer as well, showing Miller had be fantasizing over a 5-year-old neighborhood boy. Miller had stolen photos of the boy from a drugstore photo processor, uploading them on the site. He also sent photos of his own twin boys to a known pedophile, court records show.
Miller was convicted on two counts of distributing child pornography, and one count of possessing it.
After his release from jail in 2001, Miller stole the identity of his ex-wife (They divorced in December 2001) to buy a computer. He was caught trying to pawn that computer, and investigators found more child pornography on it. He was convicted of theft, burglary and child porn with a prior offense charges on Nov. 26, 2002.
For the 1999, and 2002 cases, Miller was sentenced to a total of 32 months in prison, and because none of the charges were violent or serious, he only served half of that sentence.
(Two California penal codes determine what is “violent” or “serious” none of the child pornography charges falls in either category)
Around 2004, a Texas family moved to California to facilitate their young son’s blossoming acting/modeling career. The family met Miller, then a registered sex offender, who introduced them to the Young Artists Award Show, an annual production recognizing child actors. Miller brought the 11-year-old boy to the event.
Miller targeted the mother too, and they started having an affair. The boy began spending nights at Miller’s Southern California home, which is when the significant abuse started, according to the boy’s father.
By 2007, the father now suspicious, found emails from Miller on the family computer discussing child torture, and child pornography. Then, says the father, Miller’s intent became clear.
“He chooses children and goes after their mothers to have the greatest access to kids,” the father, who divorced his wife, said in an interview with this newspaper. “He’s extremely intelligent, a sociopath to the truest definition, very articulate. … You’d never guess it in a million years.”
The boy’s father alerted authorities, and the embarrassed boy told his story to investigators. The investigators declined to file charges because of discrepancies in the boy’s story, the father said. This is often a challenge to prosecutors, where the child often has to testify against their abuser.
On August 7,2007 Miller was convicted of one count of possessing child pornography. He was sentenced to four years in prison, but again had to only serve half, and he had already had 320 days time served.
Upon his release from jail on Christmas day in 2008, Miller was out for revenge. Miller began distributing 10 explicit videos of the child actor, along with vicious letters, to the boy’s agents, casting directors, friends, family and others in the entertainment industry, according to the boy’s father.
“It went global,” the father said. “Take your worst nightmare and multiply that by 10, and then imagine yourself being a 12-year-old and what impact that would have on you.”
Miller had failed to register as a sex offender upon his release, and law enforcement was already bogged down by large sex offender case loads couldn’t find him.
During the next year the father spent “six figures” on private investigators to search for Miller unsuccessfully-and on an attorney to remove the videos as they appeared online.
Miller later told investigators he got sexual gratification from destroying the boys reputation. He described in a pedophile in a chat room, “He’s horrified. … There’s nothing he can do about it and they will never, ever go away,” according to court documents.
Miller moved to Bay Point and became roommates with a man named Johnathan, who he met in a pedophile chat room.
The pair lived with Johnathan’s 8-year-old adopted son-a former senior clerk with Contra Costa’s Children and Family Services, the agency that coordinates adoptions — is now serving a six-year sentence at Salinas Valley State Prison for molesting his adopted son.
Contra Costa Employment and Human Services spokeswoman Lauren Brosnan said agency employees “do not receive preferential treatment” for foster services or adoptions. Jonathan’s foster parent license was revoked when he was arrested in December 2009, she said.
While Miller lived there, the 8-year-old boy befriended two brothers who lived in the Bay Point condo complex. Miller began molesting one of the brothers who was then 11-years-old. In 2009, Miller integrated himself with the boy’s financially strapped, disabled mother, and moved into their house, molesting her son five nights a week.
Miller was finally caught the same way he had avoided prison. Another pedophile took a deal to help East Coast investigators catch a big fish who had been sending him child porn. This time Miller was the big fish; he was arrested at the Bay Point house.
Investigators seized Miller’s computer and found child pornography, and chat logs from pedophile/child tourture chatrooms. Also found were pornographic images of the 11-year-old brother, some of which he was hog tied.
Miller’s victim this time testified, but was despondent, even asking if he could testify with his hoodie up to feel safer. One veteran sex crimes investigator told prosecutors the boy was the “most withdrawn and devastated victim he’s seen his entire career.”
Miller continued to manipulate from jail, even proposing to the mother of his victim, to get the boy to recant his story.
The Contra Costa jury took three hours to convict Miller.
As for the boy, “I think this is a clear example of a victim who can never be made whole, but that the justice system works,” Smith said. “This jury verdict is as close as we can come to justice.”
Studies show varying results as to whether inmates convicted of sex crimes will return to prison.
California offenders required to register as sex offenders have slightly higher recidivism rates than those who do not register. (Within three years, 67 percent re-offend, compared with 65 percent of those who don’t.)
Among California registered sex offenders’ recommitment offenses, 84 percent are for parole violations, 10 percent for a new non-sex crime and 6 percent are for a new sex crime.
The recidivism rate for federal child pornography offenders is 30 percent, with more than 7 percent for sex-related offenses.
Source: California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation 2011 report, U.S. Sentencing Commission 2012 report
By Matthias Gafni
Contra Costa Times