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‘I’ve done a horrible thing’ HR man guilty of sex crimes

By RAELYNN RICARTE

News staff writer

June 28, 2006

A Hood River man was sentenced on Monday to 75 months in prison for sexually abusing and sodomizing a 9-year-old girl.

Jon Eric Miller, 58, of Belmont Avenue admitted to Judge Donald Hull that he had committed the crimes from September of 1993 to June of 1994. He also acknowledged inappropriately touching the breasts of another girl under the age of 14, although no charges were brought against him for that incident.

“I just want the court to know that I’ve done a horrible thing. I am so remorseful that it can’t ever be expressed adequately. It’s a tragedy,” said Miller.

Even though he had been charged with molesting only one victim, Judge Donald Hull directed the defendant to pay each of the two females $5,000 to cover counseling costs.

After he is released from prison, Miller will spend 180 months on parole and be required to register as a sex offender for life.

Deputy District Attorney Carrie Rasmussen read a letter from the primary victim outlining the damage brought by Miller’s abuse. The woman said that she had struggled emotionally throughout her teenage and young adult years.

“I have spent thousands of dollars trying to heal and move on in my life,” she wrote.

However, Miller’s victim also believed the actions taken against her were more a “crime of convenience” than predatory. She felt that Miller posed no danger to the community and should be put into a treatment program instead of prison.

However, state sentencing guidelines required that Miller spend time behind bars. That mandate led Jack Morris, defense attorney, to register a complaint about Oregon’s penal code.

“He’s here because he’s taken responsibility for the matter and I think it take a lots of guts to do that,” he said. “We have a system that’s broken and this case is a perfect example of that. There are no checks and balances anymore.”

However, in a follow-up interview, Rasmussen disagreed with Morris’ comments. She said Miller had committed the crimes prior to the passage of Measure 11 in 1996. Therefore, instead of having more time in prison, he had received the lesser penalty based on the more lenient law in place at the time of his actions.

Under the Measure 11 rating system, Rasmussen said the sodomy charge against Miller was ranked at level 10, just one point below murder.

“I’ve never heard anywhere in the history of Oregon where somebody could sodomize a little girl and only get probation. This is a serious crime and has always carried a prison sentence,” she said.

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