Pastor Sentenced in Miller-Jenkins Kidnapping Conspiracy

Jim Burroway

March 5th, 2013

Kenneth Miller

Mennonite pastor Kenneth Miller was sentenced to 27 months in prison for helping Lisa Miller violate a court custody order requiring that she turn over then- seven-year-old Isabella Miller-Jenkins to the child’s other mother, Janet Jenkins. Instead of complying with the 20o9 court order, Miller fled to central America and went into hiding. According to an FBI investigation, her flight across international borders was aided by several pastors and personnel from Liberty Council and Liberty University.

Kenneth Miller (no relation to Lisa Miller) was found guilty last August. The pastor of the Beachy Amish-Mennonite sect in Stuart’s Draft, Va, who is also one of many defendants in a RICO lawsuit, was defiant in yesterday’s hearing:

During a two-hour sentencing hearing, Miller told U.S. District Court Judge William Sessions III he couldn’t promise he would not commit again aid in international parental kidnapping…. “I give myself unto you to do with me as you see fit,” an obviously emotional Miller told the judge in a courtroom packed with the same supporters who later sang with him outside.

Sessions said he admired Miller for the depth of his convictions, but he could not allow him to choose God’s law over his country’s, saying the pastor had helped deprive Isabella of Jenkins’ love.

Kenneth Miller’s sentence will likely be put on hold while the case is appealed, a process which could take years.

Liberty University’s law school, which is also named the RICO lawsuit, teaches its students to advise their future clients to disregard civil law if it conflicts with “God’s law.” Lisa Miller’s attorneys, Mat Staver and Rena Lindevaldsen, are both professors at Liberty University’s Law School. Staver is also the school’s dean and head of Liberty Counsel.

In last August’s trial, prosecutors showed that Kenneth Miller arranged the purchase of airline tickets to Nicaragua for Lisa Miller and Isabella, dressed them in traditional Mennonite clothing for their trip to the Toronto airport, and arranged for Mennonites in Nicaragua to meet them and take them into hiding.

Isabella Miller-Jenkins turns eleven next month.


March 5th, 2013

Didn’t Miller basically facilitate child trafficking by helping out Lisa Miller take the child out of the country?

Also, and I normally don’t take this position, but I think it should be a longer prison sentence. As the article states he said he couldn’t promise he would not commit again aid in international parental kidnapping.


March 5th, 2013

Isabella is the only victim here.

Bose in St. Peter MN

March 5th, 2013

Two years doesn’t strike me as extreme for a crime that is still in motion today.

While the judge expressed modest admiration for the strength of Miller’s beliefs, that sounded like a throw-away line once he followed it with, “The horror of this cannot be overstated.”

Miller remains in contempt for refusing to cooperate with a grand jury investigation into Lisa & Isabella’s current location.

And, as icing on the cake, the next ex-gay parent (or even an anti-gay grandparent) who comes to him for help kidnapping children may well get it.


March 5th, 2013

So much for American “tough-on-crime” approach if an unapologetic kidnapper can be released from prison while he appeals his (unreasonably low) jail sentence. Smells like one law for poor people of color and another law for the sleaziest 1%ers.


March 5th, 2013

Hard to believe that LU can be an accredited law school if they’re teaching their students to commit malpractice if they find themselves with a religious conflict. Has the ABA ever looked into this?

Priya Lynn

March 5th, 2013

“Sessions said he admired Miller for the depth of his convictions”.

The judge is an a-hole. There’s nothing admirable about that in any way.

Bernie Keefe

March 5th, 2013

Is Staver next??


March 5th, 2013

And here’s hoping Liberty Law et al are sued out of existence.


March 5th, 2013

This is incredible. Three years already and they’re still on the run. What the hell have the feds been doing? Had Isabella been the product of a straight relationship, no doubt she would have been back home already.


March 5th, 2013


Don’t be too sure. Somewhere out there there is a statistic on parents (married or not) who flee with or secret away their child from the other parent. The accumulated number (where children are still under 18) is probably in 4-5 digits. Many are even in the U.S. still. Almost all are inevitably from opposite-sex relationships. Some are because of legitimate (but unpunished) abuse situations.

That said, very few–if any–would have had a RICO-style conspiracies involving members of the Bar.

It’s amazing that they remain accredited by the ABA (just achieved fully since 2010). Hopefully they won’t remain with this situation/philosophy. If you really want an indication of how badly the right wing has undermined the legal structures/standards of this country, per Wikipedia:

“U.S. News & World Report has recognized the School of Law as being in the top 17 percent of all law schools for placing graduates as law clerks for federal courts.”

Under the GWB administration, Liberty and Regent Law grads infested every level of Federal government. While a good number were patronage jobs and are gone now, a good many of these law-flouting cockroaches are still scurrying about in the civil service.


March 5th, 2013

This pastor is a member of a very conservative Mennonite/Amish church. His community fully supports him and treats him like a martyr. This case illustrates how much homophobia, fear, and judgement closeted queer Amish people face each day. Coming out insures the loss of your family, friends, and community. In almost all cases they will be shunned completely. I adore some parts of my culture but this story makes me realize how glad I am that I have left. I’ve started a support network for LGBT Amish and Ex-Amish @lgbtiamish and Hoping for Isabella’s safe return.


March 5th, 2013

The US has jailed journalists indefinitely, their release dependent upon naming a source.

Why can’t that approach be taken here? The crime is ongoing: the girl is still missing and Miller knows where she is, or can name those who know.

Why not an indefinite term, to end when the child is located and returned?


March 5th, 2013

i just love these stories for those who say that religion should be left alone. That it does nothing past simple belief (in fairy tales). And that THESE beliefs are inherently like any other.
But in reality, for those many that do act on conviction of these beliefs, it does matter to address the issue. Or maybe we should shrug the religion issue aside and conciously neglect the elephant in the room whilst proclaiming the evident nature of gay rights? It’s in a way, how conservative tell us to ignore the gay bullying issue whilst proclaiming how no1 should be bullied.
Ignoring the obvious(as seen in this and many other articles) cause doesnt help at all to further the goal (instrinsic gay rights/intrinsic non-bullying rights).

To me (as per the culture around me) it is evident that it is impossible to address gay rights AND religious liberty as something necessarily harmonious. They both speak of rights… but of different ones. It is silly to say how much rights gays have while at the same time saying how rightful they are to exercise religious liberty when this liberty imposes itself upon the other.

I’ve yet to have any compelling reason why someone can not exercise their religious liberty and need to give me my rights. It is quite clear that my rights infringe upon their religious liberty.


March 5th, 2013

The judge is disgusting. There’s nothing admirable about this man’s actions. I wonder how many times this judge calls criminals in his courtroom “admirable”?


March 5th, 2013

Twenty-seven months seems a light sentence for taking a child away from a parent. I hope the RICO suit against Liberty University is successful. Everything about Jerry Falwell’s legacy is a blight on the face of the nation. He was an evil man who sowed a bitter and poisonous seed. It makes me wish that magic was real so that he would discover that Hell burned hot for hateful preachers as much as it does for any other psychopath.


March 6th, 2013

Oh my lord! Such persecution these poor upstanding christianists face!

This pastor is relishing the fact that he is being persecuted for his religion. He is blessed, just like his good book says (“blessed are those who are persecuted…”). In his mind, if he’s lucky, maybe he’ll end up being crucified, upside down, instead of just a simple jail term. What a blessing that would be!

Such christianists think they can break any law they want to if they think it disagrees with what their imaginary friend thinks (which is amazingly similar to what they personally think).


March 6th, 2013

They should declare this a mistrial and get a judge who’s tougher at him.


March 6th, 2013

I wonder what the sentence would have been had an MCC minister helped a lesbian kidnap her kid from a former partner to prevent the child being exposed to a “Christian” lifestyle?

Regan DuCasse

March 6th, 2013

@JOEL: I was watching the clip from the IL legislature’s vote on marriage equality, and now the consideration in MN.
And even though the law clearly states and protects clergy and houses of worship and religious property from being forced to perform any ss religious ceremonies against their will, there are advocates from the ADF complaining that the law doesn’t go FAR enough to protect the religious liberties of county clerks, pharmacists, business owners and so on.
They want a religious person (meaning anti gay Christians), to invoke religious objections to providing services to the public there to receive that accommodation WITHOUT being informed of that objection.
We’ve seen over and over that many people like this, aren’t too smart or especially knowledgable about how civil law and public policy is supposed to work.
I’ve tried to inform these people that they aren’t differentiating who deserves ALL of the same discrimination from these services, and uninformed public, AND religious abuse.
That they’d appreciate protection from religious abuse if someone wanted to invoke Sharia on them any time they wanted.
They didn’t understand what INFORMED public meant and didn’t ask.
They didn’t understand what equal dispersion of discrimination meant and didn’t ask.
They didn’t understand what reasonable accommodation meant and didn’t ask.
They didn’t understand civic enterprise and non discrimination clauses BECAUSE of protections of the public and didn’t ask.

The people sitting there demanding this religious ‘freedom’ never knew or understood what Jim Crow or apartheid was like.
Which is unforgivable to me. They are in fact, demanding to invoke apartheid like similarity into our civil laws and it’s disgusting.
They are resistant to that comparison. Too damn bad, that’s EXACTLY what it is.

Mike G.

March 7th, 2013

Isabella and Lisa Miller are still missing, this pastor is still free, and no charges have been made against Liberty. Un-frickin’-believable! The people in charge of this investigation are either incompetent or in cahoots with anti-gay activists. There’s no other explanation for the lack of progress in all of this.


March 8th, 2013

The FBI knows exactly where they are. In a Mennonite colony in South America. Nicaragua I think.

Leave A Comment

All comments reflect the opinions of commenters only. They are not necessarily those of anyone associated with Box Turtle Bulletin. Comments are subject to our Comments Policy.

(Required, never shared)

PLEASE NOTE: All comments are subject to our Comments Policy.


Latest Posts

The Things You Learn from the Internet

"The Intel On This Wasn't 100 Percent"

From Fake News To Real Bullets: This Is The New Normal

NC Gov McCrory Throws In The Towel

Colorado Store Manager Verbally Attacks "Faggot That Voted For Hillary" In Front of 4-Year-Old Son

Associated Press Updates "Alt-Right" Usage Guide

A Challenge for Blue Bubble Democrats

Baptist Churches in Dallas, Austin Expelled Over LGBT-Affirming Stance

Featured Reports

What Are Little Boys Made Of?

In this original BTB Investigation, we unveil the tragic story of Kirk Murphy, a four-year-old boy who was treated for “cross-gender disturbance” in 1970 by a young grad student by the name of George Rekers. This story is a stark reminder that there are severe and damaging consequences when therapists try to ensure that boys will be boys.

Slouching Towards Kampala: Uganda’s Deadly Embrace of Hate

When we first reported on three American anti-gay activists traveling to Kampala for a three-day conference, we had no idea that it would be the first report of a long string of events leading to a proposal to institute the death penalty for LGBT people. But that is exactly what happened. In this report, we review our collection of more than 500 posts to tell the story of one nation’s embrace of hatred toward gay people. This report will be updated continuously as events continue to unfold. Check here for the latest updates.

Paul Cameron’s World

In 2005, the Southern Poverty Law Center wrote that “[Paul] Cameron’s ‘science’ echoes Nazi Germany.” What the SPLC didn”t know was Cameron doesn’t just “echo” Nazi Germany. He quoted extensively from one of the Final Solution’s architects. This puts his fascination with quarantines, mandatory tattoos, and extermination being a “plausible idea” in a whole new and deeply disturbing light.

From the Inside: Focus on the Family’s “Love Won Out”

On February 10, I attended an all-day “Love Won Out” ex-gay conference in Phoenix, put on by Focus on the Family and Exodus International. In this series of reports, I talk about what I learned there: the people who go to these conferences, the things that they hear, and what this all means for them, their families and for the rest of us.

Prologue: Why I Went To “Love Won Out”
Part 1: What’s Love Got To Do With It?
Part 2: Parents Struggle With “No Exceptions”
Part 3: A Whole New Dialect
Part 4: It Depends On How The Meaning of the Word "Change" Changes
Part 5: A Candid Explanation For "Change"

The Heterosexual Agenda: Exposing The Myths

At last, the truth can now be told.

Using the same research methods employed by most anti-gay political pressure groups, we examine the statistics and the case studies that dispel many of the myths about heterosexuality. Download your copy today!

And don‘t miss our companion report, How To Write An Anti-Gay Tract In Fifteen Easy Steps.

Testing The Premise: Are Gays A Threat To Our Children?

Anti-gay activists often charge that gay men and women pose a threat to children. In this report, we explore the supposed connection between homosexuality and child sexual abuse, the conclusions reached by the most knowledgeable professionals in the field, and how anti-gay activists continue to ignore their findings. This has tremendous consequences, not just for gay men and women, but more importantly for the safety of all our children.

Straight From The Source: What the “Dutch Study” Really Says About Gay Couples

Anti-gay activists often cite the “Dutch Study” to claim that gay unions last only about 1½ years and that the these men have an average of eight additional partners per year outside of their steady relationship. In this report, we will take you step by step into the study to see whether the claims are true.

The FRC’s Briefs Are Showing

Tony Perkins’ Family Research Council submitted an Amicus Brief to the Maryland Court of Appeals as that court prepared to consider the issue of gay marriage. We examine just one small section of that brief to reveal the junk science and fraudulent claims of the Family “Research” Council.

Daniel Fetty Doesn’t Count

Daniel FettyThe FBI’s annual Hate Crime Statistics aren’t as complete as they ought to be, and their report for 2004 was no exception. In fact, their most recent report has quite a few glaring holes. Holes big enough for Daniel Fetty to fall through.