A former Columbus police officer caught with thousands of child pornography images was sentenced to just over 10 years in prison today. U.S. District Judge Algenon L. Marbley handed down the 121-month sentence against Stewart A. Miller, 48, in federal court, saying he was troubled by Miller's long history of viewing child pornography and that his actions seemed to escalate over time. Miller agreed to pay $7,500 in restitution to one of the victims.
A former Columbus police officer caught with thousands of child-pornography images was sentenced yesterday to a little more than 10 years in prison.
U.S. District Judge Algenon L. Marbley, who handed down the 121-month sentence against Stewart A. Miller, 48, in federal court, said he was troubled by Miller’s long history of viewing child pornography and the escalation of his behavior over time.
Miller agreed to pay $7,500 in restitution to one of the victims. Marbley also fined Miller $17,500 and ordered him to undergo an evaluation and seek treatment for his sexual behavior.
Miller will be required to wear an electronic monitoring ankle bracelet at his home until he goes to prison and will be required to register as a sex offender after his release.
“The court can contemplate very few crimes that are worse than this,” Marbley said.
Miller’s wife turned over a thumb drive containing the pornography and other evidence to the FBI. Marbley called Julie Bowen-Miller a “hero” and wondered what would have happened had she not come forward.
In court yesterday, she apologized to the thousands of “little ones” harmed by her husband’s behavior and said she wished she had been able to help them.
Bowen-Miller told Marbley she clearly didn’t know the man she had married and wished she had found about his pornography addiction sooner.
“I grieve the loss of what was my life and what I had hoped would be my future,” she said.
The couple is going through divorce proceedings.
Miller said he never meant to hurt his wife or her family.
“It breaks my heart to see the pain and destruction it has caused in her life,” he said.
Miller also apologized to his former fellow officers for being such a “disgrace to the profession” and “causing the whole child-pornography industry to continue” with his obsession.
Miller pleaded guilty in December to one count of possessing child pornography, which requires a minimum sentence of five years in prison.
Assistant U.S. Attorney Heather A. Hill said the images and videos that Miller downloaded, viewed and shared involved real children suffering real abuse.
“His actions contributed to the demand for child pornography, which both perpetuates the abuse of existing victims and leads to abuse of additional victims,” she said.
Hill had asked for at least a 10-year prison sentence; Miller’s attorney had suggested a six-year term.
Hill told Marbley that Miller had “carefully categorized” his child pornography files, which he had been downloading and saving for at least 10 years when his wife discovered them and notified law enforcement last year.
Miller had secretly videotaped two minors engaging in sexual activity in his home and had apparently taken photographs and made videos of young girls in bathing suits in Florida.
Mark C. Collins, Miller’s attorney, argued that his client had never “acted out in any sexual nature toward children” and did not distribute any child pornography. Collins called Miller a hoarder and said that although he had thousands of images, it didn’t mean he went back to them again and again.
Collins said Miller understands that what he did was “horrific,” especially given the oath he had sworn to uphold the law, but he couldn’t help himself and needs treatment.
Miller was a Columbus police officer for 23 years before he was placed on leave in the fall. He resigned in December.
“He hid his addiction to pornography from his family, friends, co-workers — everyone,” Collins said.