Derrick Miller, a Salvation Army pastor, was sentenced to 11 years in prison after pleading guilty to raping two teenage girls.
On March 4th, 2022, Miller pleaded guilty to two counts of attempted rape and one count of raping “Girl A”, a child under the age of 16 years; and five counts of raping “Girl B”, a child under the age of 13 years old.
The victims met Miller sometime in 2014 at the Salvation Army Church in Providenciales, where he was a pastor up to the time of his arrest for the offences before the Court. The sexual acts took place at his home in Blue Hills, or at the Salvation Army Church building in Plantation Hills.
At the time he met the victims, “Girl A” was six years old and “Girl B” was 8 years old. However, at the time of the offences “Girl A” was 11 years (first offence) and “Girl B” was 14 years old. The girls were best friends.
In sentencing Miller, Supreme Court judge, Madame Justice Tanya Lobban Jackson said: “Religious and community leaders are entrusted with children and the vulnerable for their care and protection, not for that trust or for the children to be used and abused. Persons in the community have come to admire, look up to and respect religious leaders, and when those in positions of trust abuse that trust, it damages not only victims but also has a negative impact on the community.”
She sentenced Miller to nine years imprisonment on each count of attempted rape, and 11 years imprisonment on each count of rape. The sentences are to run concurrently and time spent on remand is to be taken into account.
According to the facts outlined in the judgment, the complaint arose on Friday, May 21, 2021, when “Girl A’s older brother received a call from her school to report that a phone she was using in class had been confiscated.
Girl A’s brother received the iPhone 11, examined it, and discovered a conversation of a sexual nature on WhatsApp between his sister and Miller. He confronted her about the messages, reported the matter to the police and handed over the said phone to them.
On the same day of the report, she was taken to the Safeguarding and Public Protection Unit where a video recorded interview was done with her. The interview revealed that Miller had been having sexual encounters with “Girl A” for a period of time, commencing sometime after March 25th, 2020.
The sexual acts took place at his home in Blue Hills, or at the Salvation Army Church building in Plantation Hills.
On two occasions, Miller took the two girls to his home and had sexual intercourse with Girl A in the presence of Girl B, and on a separate occasion, he asked Girl A to perform oral sex on him. On yet another occasion, Miller had anal intercourse with her.
On May 25th, 2021, the police interviewed Girl B at the Safeguarding and Public Protection Unit and she disclosed that in 2020 and 2021, there were occasions when Miller would take her to school and sometimes buy her toiletries.
Then one day in January of 2021, after church, he informed her that he had been having sex with S.P and invited her to join them. Miller then took her to his home and attempted to have sex with her, but was unsuccessful. He then forced her to have oral sex with him.
On another occasion, Miller took both girls to his house and attempted to have intercourse with Girl B again. However, she refused to continue, and the pastor then proceeded to have intercourse with Girl A in the presence of Girl B.
According to the judgment, as a result of being one of the victims in this case, Girl A has been separated from her family and placed in a safer environment.
“This aspect has apparently had the most devastating effect on her. She blames “Captain Miller” who was her godfather, an indication of the high regard in which he was held by her family.
Girl A says that she feels bad about what happened and “wants Captain Miller to know that he is a bad person and need to stay in prison for the rest of his life because I do not want this to ever happen to any other child.”
Girl A, who has been receiving counselling, says she is often sad and has trust issues, especially around men. However, she feels safer knowing that (Miller) is in prison.
In summary and in her own words Girl A said: “I want Captain Miller to stay in jail forever, I believe Captain Miller is a danger, he should remain in prison for a long time because of the things he has taken away from me.”
The other victim opted not to write a victim impact statement but shared that she feels terrible about what transpired.
The judgment noted that the pre-sentence report disclosed that Miller is 48 years old, was raised in a good home, his father was an assistant commissioner of police and his mother a school principal.
He spent the majority of his formative years attending church and categorized his childhood in positive terms.
Miller, who is married, received a high school diploma at North Georgetown High School in Guyana; he attended the Salvation Army Training College in Jamaica, where he completed several training courses including “Safe & Sound,” a program designed for the protection of children and vulnerable adults.
He also enrolled in the Jamaican Theological College where he pursued a Bachelor’s Degree in Theology.
The judgment said Miller’s family members and colleagues expressed shock at his involvement in the current offences. The Salvation Army Divisional commander described his actions as “totally out of character”, and noted that “grown adults interfering with children cannot be taken lightly”.
Miller was assessed as being “articulate, manipulative and charismatic; all traits he used for his benefit to achieve his desired goals. …. given his charming personality and the help he provided to the victims and their families, it was easy for an attachment to form. Mr. Miller is well knowledgeable about the various psychosocial aspects of vulnerable children and families. He performed many functions which made it easy to cross boundaries and have sexual interactions with the victims”.
In arriving at the sentences, Judge Lobban Jackson said she considered a victim impact statement, a pre-sentence report and took the principles of sentencing, including the totality principle into account.
“The court bore in mind that it had to balance a number of competing interests and objectives; and therefore to tailor the sentence to suit the offence(s) and the offender, while maintaining a level of transparency,” she said.
“The court considered the vulnerability of the victims, as a result of extreme youth and personal circumstances; and culpability, due to (Miller’s) abuse of the trust reposed in him as the pastor of the church which the victims attended. As well as, evidence of grooming behavior towards the victims, and also places of the offending.” (Turks and Caicos SUN Newspaper)