A very interesting case came down last week where a pastor from Virginia was convicted of helping a woman flee the country three years ago, when she was on the brink if having to turn custody of her young daughter over to the woman who was once her partner in a Vermont civil union.

Kenneth Miller was convicted of orchestrating the flight of Lisa Miller and her daughter, working with others to find them a new home in Central America.  At the time of her 2009 disappearance, Lisa Miller was bound by a Vermont family court order that she giver her former partner, Janet Jenkins, visitation with their daughter, Isabella Miller-Jenkins.

The jury issued its verdict against the Rev. Miller after several hours of deliberations in the case, which has drawn broad attention because of the legal and religious questions it raised about same-sex unions and child custody, and because the whereabouts of mother and daughter remain unknown.  Lisa Miller, who isn’t related to Kenneth Miller, and the now-10-year-old girl were last known to be in Nicaragua.

Jenkins and Lisa Miller were joined in a Vermont civil union in 2000 and Isabella was born to Lisa in 2002.  The couple split in 2003.  The Vermont family court gave custody of Isabella to Lisa Miller, but gave Jenkins regular visitation.

Lisa Miller then returned to Virginia, became a conservative Christian, renounced homosexuality and sought full custody of the girl.  She and Isabella disappeared in September 2009, two months ahead of an expected decision by the Vermont family court to transfer custody to Jenkins because of Miller’s continued refusal to abide by the visitation orders.  The U.S. does not have an extradition treaty with Nicaragua.

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