Crimes in civil unions custody case may have ties to anti-gay religious right group

Earlier today, GLAD, which has represented Janet Jenkins in her custody case, gave us this news:

As just reported in the Rutland Herald (pay site), there has been an arrest in the custody case involving former civil union partners Janet Jenkins and Lisa Miller, and their daughter, Isabella Miller-Jenkins. Lisa did not comply with a court order to transfer custody of Isabella to Janet on January 1, 2010.

The person arrested is one Timothy David Miller.

Lisa Miller is represented by the anti-gay religious right group, Liberty Counsel.

Andrew Harmon dug deeper. Turns out the suspect has ties to that vehemently anti-gay religious right group, Liberty Counsel:

Timothy Miller, 34, is one of several people named in the affidavit (downloadable here as a PDF) who may have colluded in the international parental kidnapping of Isabella — including a “leader” with Liberty Counsel, the Christian legal group that has provided pro bono representation for Lisa Miller in the custody case.

In her affidavit, FBI special agent Dana L. Kaegel said that a series of e-mails as well as customer service notes from an airline company indicate that Timothy Miller helped to arrange flights to Nicaragua via Canada, Mexico, and El Salvador for Miller and her daughter, who were referred to multiple times under the pseudonyms “Sarah” and “Lydia,” respectively.

E-mail correspondence between Timothy Miller and missionary associates indicate the young girl now living in Nicaragua led an isolated life.

“Mother Dear, We were planning to have a special birthday party for Lydia as her birthday is the 16th,” Miller wrote of Isabella. “The more children the better. Sarah every year has gotten a piñata for Lydia, so she has been planning on that … I feel dearly for these 2 dear people. And I can see it would mean a lot to them in this rough first year of there stay in [Nicaragua]. I would love for Lydia’s birthday to be very special and remembered long. She is going through a lot, and her future looms greatly in front of her right now.”

In June 2010, Jenkins’s attorney, Sarah Star, received a phone call from an unnamed individual who said that Miller and her daughter were staying at a vacation rental house in Nicaragua owned by Philip Zodhiates, who was described by the caller as a “Liberty leader,” Kaegel said.

According to the Southern Poverty Law Center, Zodhiates heads the Christian direct-mail firm Response Unlimited. His daughter, Victoria Hyden, is an administrative assistant at Liberty University School of Law and was asked by her father to “disseminate a request to get Lisa Miller supplies.”

What a series of coincidences, huh? Oh, and another one: Andrew reports that Hyden’s bio has been removed from Liberty’s website.

I suspect we’ll be hearing a lot more about this case. Let’s hope there are more charges. Right now, the charges against Timothy Miller are based on 18 USC §1204 “International parental kidnapping.”

And, don’t forget, Matt “Bam Bam” Barber works at Liberty Counsel and writes their blog.

On October 27, 2010, Joe was one of five bloggers who interviewed President Obama. Joe is a DC-based political consultant with over twenty-five years of experience at both the state and federal level. Joe has managed political operations and legislative efforts for both candidates and issues-based organizations. For seven years, he was the Director of State Legislation at Handgun Control, Inc. He served as that organization's first Political Director during the 2000 cycle. Joe is a graduate of the University of Maine School of Law. In addition, he has a Masters in Public Administration from Lehigh University and received his B.A. from the University of New Hampshire. Joe also has a fun dog, Petey, a worthy successor to Boomer, who got Joe through eight years of Bush and Cheney. Joe likes to think he is a world class athlete having finished the 2005 Chicago Marathon in the time of 4:10. He has completed six other marathons as well -- and is still determined to break the four hour mark.

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