Teacher pleads guilty to child molestation

March 27, 2012 at 12:48 PM
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PALM BEACH GARDENS, Fla., March 27 (UPI) -- Former Palm Beach Gardens, Fla., Middle school music teacher Heath Miller pleaded guilty to four of seven child molestation charges.

Miller, 39, accused in 2009 of sexually molesting four students, accepted a plea deal Monday that spared his victims the ordeal of having to testify in court and spared him 62 years in jail.

"He wanted to take responsibility for what he did but he also wanted to spare [the teenage girls] the horror of coming to trial," Mark Wilensky, Miller's attorney, told the Palm Beach Post.

All four victims would have had not only to testify separately on each molestation count, but to testify in each other's cases to show evidence Miller engaged in a pattern of abuse rather than committed isolated acts.

Miller faces 13 years in jail, followed by eight years probation. He will be a registered sex offender after his release, will have a 10 p.m. curfew, will be required to wear an electronic monitor and cannot live within 1,000 feet of a school or park. He will also never be able to teach again.

Miller, who was a well-liked and respected teacher, was considered a model citizen before February 2009 when he shot and killed an armed man who broke into his home.

"It was very traumatic for him," Wilensky said. All of the abuses occurred after the shooting.

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