Rudy L. Miller (right), 29, of Sherman pleaded guilty to unlawful sexual contact in Houlton District Monday. With Miller is his attorney Jeffrey Toothaker. Miller was sentenced to 5 years in prison, with all but nine months suspended. Credit: Joseph Cyr / Houlton Pioneer Times

HOULTON, Maine — A 29-year-old Sherman man, who is a member of the town’s Amish community, pleaded guilty to a sex crime Monday afternoon, while appearing in Houlton District Court.

Rudy L. Miller was sentenced to five years in prison with all but nine months suspended by Judge Patrick Larson for the Class C felony of unlawful sexual contact.

Miller was originally facing two counts of gross sexual assault (Class A felonies) and one case of sexual abuse of a minor (Class D felony), but the charge was reduced to unlawful sexual contact.

The incident took place between June 1 and June 30, 2013, in Sherman and involved a girl who was under the age of 14 and was not his wife. Miller was 20 years old at the time.

Judge Larson reminded Miller that he was under no obligation to plead guilty and that the case could go to trial, without him having to take the stand. He also reminded Miller that it would be the state’s burden to convince the members of the jury of his guilt.

Miller stated he understood the judge’s comments but still wished to plead guilty, “because I did it.”

In reviewing the state’s case, Assistant District Attorney Matthew Hunter stated Aroostook County Sheriff’s Office Deputy Rick York was approached by members of the Amish community on June 16, 2020, who were concerned about Miller and his mental state and incidents that had transpired in their community.

The case was turned over to the Maine State Police Major Crimes Unit, who interviewed three girls who were all under the age of 16. One of the girls admitted to sexual contact and stated she knew Miller was doing similar things with her younger sisters.

Hunter stated that Miller confessed to police that he engaged in sexual activity with the three girls, who were ages 14, 13 and 11, but told police it was not sex because they were not trying to conceive a child.

“There is no question there was sex,” Miller’s attorney Jeffrey Toothaker said. “But sex to them is different. The Amish community has dealt with him in a certain way.”

Miller was granted a 30-day stay of execution of his jail sentence, which will begin on Aug. 12 at 6 p.m. In addition to the nine month jail sentence, Miller must also register as a sex offender for the next 25 years and is not allowed to have unsupervised visits with children under the age of 16. His children are not included in that condition.

Upon his release, Miller will enter a 25-week rehabilitation program known as Whispering Hope in Newville, Pennsylvania.