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Former Highland teacher arrested for sexual indecency with a child

Thursday, December 22, 2011

Nathan Miller
Following an in depth investigation by the Sharp County Sheriff's Department and Arkansas State Police Crimes Against Children, former Highland teacher Nathan Miller, 30, of Violet Hill, was arrested Dec. 19 on two felony charges related to sexual indecency with a child.

According to a case report, State Police Investigator Jeanette Cooper and Sharp County Detective Sergeant Ken Guidry began working on the case in November, following a call regarding possible inappropriate behavior between Miller and a 15 year old female student. Former school Resource Officer Mike Baldwin had also made the office aware of the possibility of the activity between the teacher and student. Baldwin became aware of the incident after a complaint was made by the student's mother, alleging her daughter and Miller were having sexual contact.

Prior to the call, Highland resource officer Steve Chism had also been made aware of the allegations. The initial investigation was handled internally by Highland High School Principal Clint Shackleford. Following an interview with Shackleford, Miller resigned his teaching position. Shackleford provided telephone records indicating he contacted the proper authorities regarding the case on the day he was made aware of the incident, Oct. 27, the same day Miller was terminated from the Highland School District.

Chism had dealt with the student in late October, and had confiscated her cell phone pending an investigation by law enforcement.

Initially, the female student was not cooperative with investigators, but Juvenile Court Judge Kevin King ordered her to communicate with law enforcement.

Guidry and Cooper interviewed the girl on Nov. 18. She told investigators Miller was her math teacher and she contacted him on Facebook because she was planning on moving out of state.

After the initial contact, the two began to have phone conversations which eventually led to nude photo's being exchanged between the two. She told investigators Miller repeatedly told her during their contact that no one could find out or he would be in serious trouble for communicating with her. The female denied having sexual contact with the teacher.

Miller's wife had also received a phone call about the indecent behavior between her husband and the student, and the student said she received a call from the wife ordering her to stay away from her husband.

When investigators met with Shackleford about the incident, he expressed regret for not involving law enforcement in the investigation earlier.

He provided detectives with access to the teacher's personnel file, which included documents pertaining to Shackleford's action, including Miller's letter of resignation dated Oct. 27, as well as an email sent to Shackleford from the teacher expressing his regret for the situation.

Shackleford told Det. Guidry he had received two complaints of possible inappropriate texting between the two.

Miller admitted to having sent one, claiming it was simply a funny text, but he admitted inappropriate photos were included.

Shackleford said Miller did not elaborate and was asked to resign immediately.

Det. Guidry then contacted Miller via email, as no phone number was supplied, and requested he come into the Sharp County Sheriff's Department to give a statement.

Miller said he would come in, but cancelled and rescheduled several times.

Det. Guidry then told Miller he strongly suggested he come in for the interview.

During this time frame, a story about the possible inappropriate behavior broke in a local newspaper, despite Miller not yet being charged.

Miller e-mailed Guidry back telling him that, under the advice of his legal counsel, the interview would not be in his best interest.

Highland Resource Officer Steve Chism learned from Special Agent Jeff Shackleford of the Attorney General's office that he could extract data from cell phones.

Det. Guidry secured the necessary documentation and contacted Shackleford on Dec. 8.

After an examination of the student's phone, Shackleford extracted two photos of Miller's genitals, as well as two of the female's breast and vaginal area, and numerous sexually explicit texts exchanged between the two.

Miller was arrested on Dec. 19 in Izard County, where he lives, by deputies with the Izard County Sheriff's Department.

Miller is charged with one count of engaging children in sexually explicit conduct for use in visual or print medium, a Class B felony and one count of sexual indecency with a child, a Class D felony.

Sharp County Chief Deputy David Huffmaster with the Sharp County Sheriff's Department extradited Miller back to the Sharp County Jail the same day.

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It is difficult to believe that the high school principal did not realize he had a duty to report this to law enforcement. How is this possible. Isn't this the same thing that is happening with the Sandusky charges. That may be more serious but it seems that the failure to report to police is the same thing. What action is being taken with the principal?

-- Posted by HRPRO on Thu, Dec 22, 2011, at 10:41 PM

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