2nd petition filed to terminate child chainers’ parental rights

Published 7:45 am Sunday, December 4, 2011

AUSTIN — Mower County Human Services has filed a second petition to terminate the parental rights of a Dexter couple who chained their now 6-year-old son to his crib.

Brian Miller, 34, and Charity Miller, 27, are serving a year-long jail sentence on convictions of false imprisonment and malicious punishment. According to court documents, the Millers chained one of their sons to his crib from bedtime until morning every night.

Because Charity and one of the Millers’ two sons are members of the Cherokee Nation, the Indian Child Welfare Act played a significant part in this summer’s first termination trial, after which the Millers retained their parental rights. ICWA requires measures be taken to reunify the family before parental rights can be legally terminated. District Judge Fred Wellmann ruled in June that although the Millers caused egregious harm to their children and are palpably unfit to be parents, an attempt at reunification had not yet occurred.

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In the latest petition, filed in Mower County District Court on Nov. 29, Mower County Human Services argues the Millers have not done enough to reunify their family and should have their parental rights permanently revoked. According to the petition, the Millers have not fulfilled their reunification case plan obligations, including presenting a child safety plan, which was due in June. They have reportedly failed to complete the appropriate required psychological evaluations, the petition states.

The Millers’ court-mandated apology letters to their two sons have been rejected for being too long and focusing on their own feelings rather than their children’s feelings, according to the petition. The petition goes on to say neither parent has been truthful or remorseful when completing parenting evaluations.

“One of the greatest concerns during the evaluation centered around the seeming lack of remorse from Mr. Miller regarding his part in the abuse and neglect of the children,” the petition states. “At no time during the interview and testing did Mr. Miller take full responsibility for his actions.”

The petition states neither parent has made progress toward reunification. The Millers will appear in court this week to either admit or deny the petition’s allegations.