Councilman Jeff Miller issues statement on not resigning amid child molestation charges

INDIANAPOLIS, Ind.--  Indianapolis City-County Councilman Jeff Miller released a statement Tuesday for the first time since being arrested on three counts of child molestation.

Miller faces three counts of child molesting after a girl told investigators Miller gave her massages that made her uncomfortable. A 10-year-old girl said Miller grabbed her rear end while giving her a piggyback ride.

His statement comes a few hours after Marion County Republican Central Committee Chairman Jim Merritt renewed his call for Miller to resign.

Miller explains in his statement why he is staying in his council seat instead of resigning:

"I wanted to reach out to everyone with a few thoughts.  As has been reported by the news, I have entered a plea of not guilty in my case, but otherwise cannot discuss the details.  But I did want to address why I am remaining in my council seat.  When I ran for council in 2011, it was for one reason only…to give a voice to those who felt they didn’t have a voice.  As a former neighborhood president, I knew firsthand how it can be difficult to navigate city and county government.  I also heard about areas where people felt enough wasn’t being done to protect the quality of life we all desire.

"So I have used that voice to push for the issues the district has requested:  accountability for slumlords, programs to abate graffiti, laws to protect against metal theft (HVAC coils, catalytic converters), infrastructure repairs of our neighborhood streets and sidewalks, abandoned housing repairs, foreclosed home maintenance, etc.  I love fighting for the issues that impact you, whether big or small.  Some view the council as a way to gain power, such as being on certain committees or holding certain titles.  No, the council is not about having power, but about having a voice and to use that voice to speak for those we represent.

"The only thing I love more than giving you a voice, is being the father of my wonderful son.  And so I look forward to continuing to pursue both of these passions to the best of my ability."

Monday night, Miller was removed from all three committees on which he serves. During the full City-County Council meeting, he recused himself from voting on any matters involving the Marion County Prosecutor’s Office, the agency that filed charges in the child molestation case.

The councilman was in court Monday afternoon for his initial hearing. He asked for a no-contact order between him and his son to be lifted. Prosecutors said if it’s lifted, visits should be supervised. The judge said the matter is being considered and gave prosecutors two weeks to formally respond. Miller is the sole caregiver and claims it’s not in the child’s best interest to keep them apart.

The son was initially placed in foster care by the Department of Child Services before being placed in the care of Miller’s parents.

Merritt previously said Miller planned to resigned, but the councilman never sent a letter of resignation.

A local defense attorney who is not on Miller's case says he could be holding on to his seat for a reason.

"He may be keeping that position as a negotiation tool if you will whereby part of a plea agreement would be his resignation from the city county council and that could be something he offer up to prosecutors in exchange for a lesser charge," Attorney, Jack Crawford said.

Miller didn't deny the touching, but claims it wasn't sexual in nature. His trial is expected to begin in about four months.