INDIANAPOLIS -- An Indianapolis city-county council member accused of inappropriately touching young girls with massagers at his home resigned from his position with the city on Friday.
Jeffrey Miller, 50, now former city-county councilman for District 16 is charged with three felony counts of child molesting. District 16 serves the near southeast, south and southwest sides of Indianapolis.
The Marion County Prosecutor's office filed the charges Friday afternoon.
The investigation began after a 10-year-old girl came forward claiming Miller had massaged her and made her uncomfortable on more than one occasion.
The probable cause affidavit for the case details multiple conversations investigators had with children who frequented Miller’s home.
The 10-year-old told investigators that she was watching the news with her parents about “the famous guy who directs Broadway things” and how he “had been doing things like this” and she felt guilty because she hadn’t told her parents about it.
The child’s father said they were watching the news about Harvey Weinstein and were using it as a “teachable” moment when their daughter told them what had happened.
The young girl told investigators that she would spend time at Miller’s house on occasion and he would use some of the massagers from his “basket of massagers” to massage the kids. She said Miller would use the massagers on her back and under her shirt and up her leg, sometimes uncomfortably close to her groin.
The child described several occasions when the “uncomfortable touching” occurred.
Several other children interviewed by investigators gave similar stories of Miller’s “massage basket” and how he would massage them on their back and legs while they were playing and watching movies at his home. Most of the children did not feel uncomfortable around Miller or with his touching, but a couple of the girls did say there were times when he got “too close” to certain areas.
When asked by investigators about specifics involving the investigation Miller said he didn’t believe he had done anything wrong, but would not say the girls were lying.
Miller's attorney said they have no comment about the charges at this time.
Pieces of the exchange between Miller and the investigator can be read below:
The investigator asked Miller if “it was underneath or on top of her clothes or on her back” and Miller responded: “Oh, both. But, but, but, but, the, but, the very ba… I mean, that’s what I’m trying to think. I’m trying to be as, as clear as I can.. I think the b.. that’s possible.’”
The investigator then asked if Miller had ever “massaged the back of her legs or if it was always on the top. Miller responded: “I’m not trying to lie to you at all but I don’t think that’s, I don’t think so. If she says yes, the answer’s yes. I mean, cause she wouldn’t make something up. I don’t… I don’t believe either of them would say something that they don’t believe.”
When the investigator told Miller that the child has perceived the massages as sexual he responded: “Wow. You know, and I’m not, I’m not debating that. I’m not gonna… that’s, that’s how she felt. I’m, I’m fine with that. Not fine with the situation, I’m saying that’s how she felt. Period. I mean… yea, nothing more to say other than that. Feel like an idiot. Desperately sorry and, um, and that, that’s her right. And that can’t be taken away from her. That’s how she feels.”
Miller was recently the focus of an Indy Star column in which he was called "one of District 16’s most vocal neighborhood leaders" and "a big part of the area's rebirth.”
Miller was elected to represent District 16 in November 2011 and re-elected in 2015.
District 16 includes neighborhoods such as Fountain Square on the east side, the Old Southside near Meridian and Mars Hill on the west side. It also includes IUPUI and UIndy as well as the White River State Park. Fletcher Place is also in Miller's district.
"Fletcher Place Neighborhood Association is aware of and unequivocally condemns the sort of actions being alleged against Jeff Miller. At this time, we will respect the privacy of all the family members involved and let the law enforcement continue their investigation," said Andy Howard, President of Fletcher Place Neighborhood Association.
City-County Council Minority Leader Mike McQuillen tweeted a statement regarding Miller's resignation saying: "Councillor Jeff Miller resigning is the best for the citizens of the district, the institution of the Council and the people of Indianapolis."
Marion County Republican Party Chairman Jim Merritt says he demanded Miller's resignation Friday afternoon.
"When the charges were filed, there was no option whatsoever. I am angry about this. These are sickening charges and it was a simple decision to ask for his resignation and I expect his letter on Monday," said Merritt.
Merritt will call for a special election to fill Miller's position on the city-county council once he receives his letter.
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