The Miller-Jenkins same-sex custody case has spawned a federal racketeering lawsuit accusing various persons, including alleged agents of Liberty University’s law school, of conspiring in the kidnapping of 10-year-old Isabella Miller. The girl disappeared with her birth mother, Lisa Miller, in 2009, in the midst of a custody battle with former partner Janet Jenkins.
Jenkins filed suit Aug. 14 asking a Vermont federal judge to order Isabella be returned to the U.S. from her unknown hiding place and demanding damages for both Isabella and Jenkins.
Among the defendants in the RICO lawsuit are Lisa Miller, Liberty University School of Law, Thomas Road Baptist Church, and the Mennonite pastor who was convicted Tuesday of aiding an international kidnapping by helping Lisa Miller flee with Isabella.
The pastor, Kenneth Miller of Stuarts Draft, was found guilty of helping Lisa Miller’s 2009 flight to Canada and then to Nicaragua in defiance of court orders from family courts in both Vermont and Virginia. Courts in both states found Lisa Miller in contempt and ordered sanctions for failing to honor visitation and custody orders.
The lawsuit alleges “on information and belief” the Liberty law school – through a “student worker” – supported Lisa Miller’s flight. Citing evidence from Kenneth Miller’s trial, the suit suggests a man accused of transporting Isabella and Lisa Miller to the Canadian border attempted to telephone Liberty Counsel (the dean’s advocacy group) and Liberty U.’s law school after leaving the two near the border.
Staver on Friday denied any knowledge of Miller’s flight or her whereabouts after her disappearance. He also denied that the Liberty law school – or any agents of the school – supported Miller in her defiance of court orders. “That never happened,” he said.
“This is an outrageous example of a sloppy and frivolous lawsuit,” Staver said. He promised an aggressive defense.
An earlier version of this post stated the lawsuit suggested Staver was in telephone contact with the man accused of transporting Lisa Miller to a border crossing. The lawsuit suggests only that the man attempted to contact Liberty Counsel and the law school. The lawsuit cites no evidence that Staver was in contact with the man. Virginia Lawyers Weekly regrets the error.
By Peter Vieth