Benton County Attorney Philip K. Miller is adamantly denying the allegations he sexually assaulted a minor, according to Miller's Minneapolis-based attorney Christa Groshek, who spoke on his behalf.
Miller, who has led the Benton County Attorney's Office for eight years, was charged last week with one felony count of second-degree criminal sexual conduct and two felony counts of second-degree criminal sexual conduct.
According to the criminal complaint filed in Benton County District Court — but handled by Dakota County — Miller assaulted a 15-year-old girl on more than one occasion last year when she was asleep or pretending to be asleep in her bedroom.
"This is unreal that this is happening, to him," Groshek said Wednesday. "He just looks forward to going to court. He knows that ultimately this will likely culminate in a jury trial that's going to get some press and it is his hope that the truth comes out."
St. Cloud police learned of the allegations in January and investigators interviewed the 15-year-old in February. Miller denied touching the girl inappropriately, the complaint states.
"He adamantly denies this. This was shocking. It was crazy to him," Groshek said of Miller. "He voluntarily went and talked to the police for two hours."
Miller, 60, came to Benton County in 2013 after serving as county attorney in Lake of the Woods and Koochiching counties.
Because Miller is an elected official, the county's personnel policies do not apply, so the County Board is not in a position to place him on leave, according to Benton County Administrator Montgomery Headley.
"For him, nothing has really changed," Groshek said. "He's always tried to be extraordinarily fair and very mindful about his work. He understands the obligation that comes with the role of county attorney. He's a minister of justice and he doesn't take that lightly."
Miller's first court appearance is scheduled for Aug. 18.
Jenny Berg • 612-673-7299