Prosecutor’s office asks judge to deny request for special prosecutor in councilman’s child molestation case
INDIANAPOLIS, Ind.– The Marion County prosecutor’s office is fighting a request from Indianapolis City-County Councilman Jeff Miller for a special prosecutor in his child molestation case.
Miller was arrested last month after two girls claimed he touched them inappropriately in his Fountain Square home. One girl told investigators Miller gave her massages that made her uncomfortable, and another girl said he grabbed her rear end while giving her a piggyback ride. According to court documents, Miller told investigators that he did not intend for his touching to be sexual in nature.
He faces three counts of child molestation.
Prosecutor Terry Curry’s office asked a judge to deny Miller’s request for a special prosecutor, saying the change would be burdensome on Miller’s alleged victims.
Miller, a Republican, said in his request that Curry, a Democrat, supported his opponent Emily Shrock in the most recent election. Shrock previously served as a deputy prosecutor.
“The prosecution of a political opponent creates an appearance of impropriety and erodes confidence in the criminal justice system,” Miller’s petition reads.
Deputy Prosecuting Attorney Courtney Curtis responded, saying Shrock was no longer employed at the prosecutor’s office and the case has no bearing on whether she could be seated on the City-County Council.
“Plainly speaking, even if the defendant was convicted of all charges and removed from his seat, Ms. Shrock would not take his place,” Curtis said.
Curtis said there is no reason or benefit in the prosecutor’s office treating the defendant “more harshly” and it would be up to the jury to serve as the check and balance of this case.
Curtis also noted Miller has agreed to recuse himself from voting on measures connected to the prosecutor’s office, calling the argument “moot.”
“It is unduly burdensome on the minor child victims of this crime to begin again with a new prosecutor,” Curtis said. “Indiana case law has long prioritized limiting the exposure of children to the traumatizing effects of repeating agonizing details over and over again. Appointing a new prosecutor opens these children up to essentially starting again from the beginning.”
Monday night, Indianapolis Republicans voted to expel Miller from the GOP caucus. Michael McQuillen, the council’s Republican minority leader, said he encourages Miller to resign from the City-County Council, so he can focus his energies on his family and legal matters.
Miller technically remains a member of the Republican Party, at least for now. He will not be permitted to attend the caucus meetings or strategy sessions, which are held before City-County Council meetings.
Earlier this month, the councilman released a statement explaining why he is staying in his council seat instead of resigning, saying he wanted to use his position as a voice to push for the issues that affect his district. Miller has been removed from all three committees on which he serves.