AUBURN — At an emotional hearing Thursday, a judge sentenced a California man to seven years in prison after he was convicted of sexually abusing two girls under age 12  in this city in 2019.

Avery Miller Androscoggin County Jail photo

Avery Miller, 28, also was given an eight-year sentence, all of which the judge suspended.

Androscoggin County Superior Court Justice Harold Stewart II imposed 12 years of probation on Miller. If he were to violate terms of his probation during that time, Miller could be ordered to serve part or all of those suspended eight years behind bars.

Miller was indicted on eight felony counts and was found guilty at trial in May of six counts of unlawful sexual contact, each charge a crime punishable by up to 10 years in prison.

It took a jury about six hours to deliberate after a three-day trial before returning its verdict.

Miller engaged in unlawful sexual contact over nine days in May 2019, according to the indictment.


According to an affidavit written by local police Detective Eric Bell, the father of the girls contacted police after Miller had been discovered by their mother under a blanket, inappropriately touching one of the girls, who was 5 years old at the time.

Four sisters under age 12 testified at trial, as well as a forensic interviewer at the Child Advocacy Center in Lewiston, who interviewed the girls, and two therapists who treated them for sexual abuse trauma.

Miller testified in his defense, denying the conduct.

He had been convicted in Idaho on a charge of assault on a minor, a case a prosecutor said originated as a sexual abuse charge that was pleaded down to the lesser offense.

Miller had no other criminal history.

The parents of the victims spoke to the judge Thursday, urging him to impose the greatest punishment possible.


“For my children’s sake and other children’s sake, I hope you’ll give him the max he deserves,” the girls’ father said. “He’s proven over and over he’s above every rule. Whether it’s with a job or with the law, he doesn’t follow rules. He’s manipulative, predatorial, conniving, no remorse taken whatsoever. No accountability.”

He said his family “has been through hell these past three years.” He said he and his wife listen to their children, believe and support them.

“We have a long road to go but we as a family will not let Miller control any part of our lives ever again,” the victims’ father said.

Their mother wrote a statement that was read in court by a trial assistant Thursday.

“He sees no wrong in what he has done and no remorse. There is no accountability. He will never change. He will only get worse. I truly believe if he wasn’t caught, he would have kidnapped or killed a child,” the mother wrote. “We want justice for our children.”

Miller’s parents, stepmother and brother expressed dismay and skepticism over the criminal convictions and asked the judge for leniency.


He has a large, blended family and has looked after many younger family members who have said he never acted inappropriately with them, his family members told the judge.

They said Miller was a practicing Christian who was raised to respect people, was charitable, had a kind nature and possibly was too trusting of others.

His stepmother, who spoke by videoconference, said: “My fear was as he grew up, he was too trusting and not knowing the way this world is. You can’t trust everybody. And I think this is where we failed to let him know that everybody is not trustworthy. I think if we would have taught him that, he wouldn’t have been in the situation that he is in today, because this home that he went to, he met this man at a gas station. . . Why would you take a stranger home?”

Defense attorney Justin Leary said his client never placed any blame on the victims nor their family.

But Assistant District Attorney Katherine Bozeman argued that Miller’s family was placing blame on the victims and their parents, whose trust Miller had worked hard to earn only to ultimately violate.

Leary said that since Miller’s bail was revoked for violation of condition of release, has been assaulted and robbed in jail.


If Miller had engaged in the criminal conduct of which he was convicted, he should get counseling, not prison time, his family said.

He does not deserve to be in prison with hardened criminals,” said his father, Sam, who appeared by videoconference. “I plead with the court to have mercy on his soul. He is not going to benefit from being in prison. He needs help.”

Leary said the only benefit to Miller being in prison would be his enrollment in a sex offender treatment program that is offered at that facility.

Justice Stewart said the two portraits painted of Miller by the families of the victims and the defendant would have him believe Miller was a “monster” or a “kind soul.”

He said his role is to examine the facts of the case and arrive at a “fair sentence.”

Stewart said, “I’ve not seen evidence of remorse” from Miller, except for what his family has endured as a result of his conduct.


Miller also hasn’t expressed he’s taken responsibility for the effect of his conduct on the victims and their family, Stewart said.

He said he imposed consecutive sentences because there were two separate victims. He also reasoned that dividing the sentences and suspending one of them would provide greater incentive for Miller to adhere to the terms of his probation because of the lengthy time he might have to serve if he were to violate any of those conditions.

“These are extremely serious offenses, convictions, sexual assaults on girls well under the age of 12,” Stewart said.

While he is on probation after his release from prison, Miller must have no contact with the victims, their family, nor anyone under age 18, Stewart said.

Miller must register as a sex offender for life and he must undergo sex offender counseling and mental health evaluation, Stewart said.

He may not possess nor view sexually stimulating material for which he may be searched at random, Stewart said.

Miller will be barred from being at any place primarily used by children under age 18, including but not limited to parks, playgrounds, schools, fairgrounds, arcades, recreational facilities or amusement parks and he may not to possess children’s toys, games, movies, clothing or pictures, Stewart said.

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