Saturday, March 21, 1998
Man pleads not guilty
to luring teen via Net

Michigan man has court date here

BY JANE PRENDERGAST
The Cincinnati Enquirer

COVINGTON - A Michigan man accused of luring a Villa Hills teen-ager home with him after meeting her over the Internet is under orders not to use his computer to communicate with any teen-agers while he awaits trial.

William A. Miller, 25, of Saginaw, pleaded not guilty in U.S. District Court here Friday morning. He was indicted by a federal grand jury March 5 on two charges - traveling with the intent of engaging in sexual activity with a juvenile and transportation with intent to engage in criminal sexual activity.

Before court began, Mr. Miller sat holding his wife's hand and reading a Bible. He was allowed to remain free on the $50,000 bond he posted in Michigan, where he was arrested. But U.S. Magistrate Judge Gregory Wehrman added the provision about no Internet contact with juveniles to other conditions he must follow. If Mr. Miller violates any of the guidelines, including that he undergo counseling, he could be sent back to jail.

If convicted, he could be sentenced to 10 years on each charge and fined $250,000 on each. Mr. Miller said little during the brief court hearing, except to say ''yes'' when Magistrate Wehrman asked if he understood the charges.

Mr. Miller allegedly developed a relationship with the 14-year-old girl, and later her 14-year-old boyfriend from Edgewood, over seven months. Police said she told Mr. Miller that she was abused by her family and that she was active sexually. Police think neither is true.

After he picked them up at their homes Feb. 28, Mr. Miller drove them to a motel in Saginaw. On the way, federal officials say, he told the girl she owed him sex. Later, in the motel room, she reluctantly agreed to let him hug her, the document said, but felt uncomfortable about it.

Edgewood police worked with the Michigan State Police, using information from the teens' computers. Michigan authorities located Mr. Miller within hours of the teens' disappearance.

His trial was set for May 4.