The lawyer for a Newark band director indicted Thursday on 13 counts stemming from sexual relationships with three students said he hopes to quickly work out a plea deal for his client.
“Anthony is genuinely remorseful,” Brad Koffel said of Anthony Miller, 32. “There was never any attempt to ply these victims, no alcohol or drugs. He’s a younger man, with some level of immaturity.”
An investigation also linked Miller to other students, and he admitted sending nude images of himself to some.
Miller, of 516 Liberty Lane in Westerville, was arrested on Feb. 24 at Newark’s Carson Elementary, where he was a part-time music teacher.
Miller also was the band director at Heritage Middle School and the assistant band director at Newark High School.
Licking County Prosecutor Ken Oswalt said in a release yesterday that all the alleged offenses occurred while the victims were Newark High School students. Two of those victims are now adults.
None of the allegations involved use of force, according to Oswalt.
Miller was indicted on one count of endangering children, a second-degree felony; five counts of sexual battery, a third-degree felony; and one count of attempted sexual battery, a fifth-degree felony.
He also was indicted on one count of contributing to the delinquency of a minor, a first-degree misdemeanor, and three counts of sexual imposition, a third-degree misdemeanor.
Miller could face up to 36 1/2 years in prison if convicted on the nine felony counts, plus a year on the four misdemeanor counts.
Miller has remained in the Licking County jail since his arrest. His bond was set at $75,000.
“We are not posting bond at this point,” Koffel said. “I want to make sure that Anthony is safe, from himself and others.”
Koffel said he also wants to give Miller “some preview of what he can expect.”
“It’s a matter now of working as quickly as possible with the state on some kind of plea,” the lawyer also said.
According to the arrest warrant, Miller admitted to Newark police detective Steve Vanoy that he had sex with “at least one of his students while she was enrolled at Newark High School” and that he sent nude images of himself to female students and received nude images of them in return.
Miller also admitted having sex with “several of the girls after they graduated from high school.”
Vanoy reported that he’d interviewed a Newark High School student on Feb. 20 who said that Miller had “solicited her to engage in sexual conduct with him.”
Vanoy then interviewed other current and former Newark students who said that Miller had contacted them via social media and had “initiated conversations that were of a sexual nature.”
Vanoy said that after reviewing the information, he turned over a list of about 10 potential female victims to the prosecutor’s office, all of whom would have been students at the time of the alleged incidents.
Although one victim said that sexual activities with Miller were consensual, Vanoy said, Miller’s actions with many of the victims were “unsolicited and unwanted.”
“I think this would have continued had he not been caught,” Vanoy said, “and to some extent, he admitted to the same.”
Miller was suspended on the day of his arrest by Newark school Superintendent Doug Ute, who had disciplined Miller twice before for inappropriate behavior.
According to his personnel file, Miller was warned in August 2012 for violating the district’s Internet policy.
In November, a parent filed a police report complaining that Miller had been contacting a senior at the Career and Technology Education Centers of Licking County through Facebook for months.
The complaint led to a disciplinary investigation and hearing in December. Ute suspended Miller without pay for three days, from Dec. 18 through Dec. 20.
“I hope that you realize the seriousness of your actions and that we will not have to meet again in the future regarding such subject,” Ute wrote to Miller.
Miller is married and has an infant son.
“Everyone feels horrible for his wife and their son,” Vanoy said. “She had no idea this was going on. Her world is completely torn apart.”
By Eric Lyttle - The Columbus Dispatch, Ohio (MCT)
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