LOGAN — A 44-year-old Hyrum man has been arrested for allegedly grooming a teenage girl to have an ongoing sexual relationship with him from 2009 to 2013. Ernest “Ernie” G. Miller was booked into the Cache County Jail Tuesday afternoon and was later charged with 21 felonies.

According to the arrest report, Logan City Police officers began investigating Miller after the alleged victim reported being sexually abused for years from the time she was 12-years-old into adulthood. The girl is more than 19 years younger than the suspect, who was described as a family friend.

The woman described multiple times she was groped, molested and later raped by Miller. She said that she was originally very nervous because she had a crush on the suspect.

As the incidents continued, the girl became pregnant when she was 17-years-old. The alleged victim said Miller knew about this and drove her to Salt Lake City to have an abortion. Medical records were later obtained and confirmed the procedure.

In addition, the woman who is now 24-year-old, told officers how Miller would take sexually explicit photographs and videos of her while she was still underage. She claimed he would do this on his cellphones that he kept locked in a safe at his business.

As part of their investigation, officers interviewed several of the alleged victim’s family members and friends. They corroborated her story, explaining that she spent a lot of time with Miller and became “weird” in high school, avoiding relationships with other males her age.

Tuesday, police obtained a search warrant and took Miller into custody. They reportedly located several cellphones inside a safe as the alleged victim had described. The phones were seized as evidence to be analyzed further.

Police questioned Miller, who reportedly admitted to spending time with the alleged victim but denied having any sexual or romantic involvement with the girl while she was a minor.

Miller was arraigned during a virtual hearing in 1st District Court Wednesday afternoon, appearing by web conference from jail. He was charged with rape of a child, two counts of aggravated sexual abuse of a child and two counts of sodomy on a child, all first-degree felonies; along with six counts of sexual abuse of a child, a second-degree felony; and 10 counts of unlawful sexual conduct with a 16 or 17-year-old, a third-degree felony.

Defense attorney Shannon Demler asked the court to allow his client bail. He claimed, Miller had lived in the community his whole life and didn’t have any other criminal history.

Cache County Deputy Attorney Andrew Crane opposed Demler’s request for bail. He said the suspect posed a danger to the alleged victim.

Judge Brian Cannell ordered Miller to be held without bail and said he was also concerned that the suspect could flee the area if released. He scheduled a preliminary hearing for Dec. 22, when prosecutors will present their evidence in the case.

Miller sat quietly during the 10 minute hearing. He was ordered to have no contact with the alleged victim or other witnesses in the case. He could face up to life in prison if convicted.

Individuals arrested and charged in complaints are presumed innocent unless or until proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt in court.


Source link