Derrick Miller, the Salvation Army Pastor accused of multiple rape charges and attempted rape on two young girls, was sentenced to eleven years in prison when he appeared before High Court Judge, Justice Tanya Loban-Jackson on Thursday, May 12.
Miller, whose rank is reportedly to be a Major in the TCI branch of the Salvation Army, was sentenced to 11 years on each of five counts of rape and nine years each for attempted rape. However, Justice Loban-Jackson ruled that he would serve a total of 11 years imprisonment as the sentences will run concurrently.
In addition to the sentence, Loban-Jackson imposed a Sexual Offences Prevention Order against him for a duration of 10 years, preventing him from dealing with or associating with young people without adult supervision.
The prosecution was hopping mad over the sentence, arguing that the sentence should have been much more severe based on the nature of the charges. Director of Public Prosecution (DPP), Eugene Otuonye was clearly disappointed with the decision, referring to it as lenient for such egregious act.
“Of course, the Prosecution is clearly disappointed with such lenient sentence in the face of a set of undisputed and egregious aggravating factors,” Otuonye told NewslineTCI.
The 48-year-old Miller was arrested on May 22, when he was initially charged with two counts of rape of a girl under 13, and one count each of meeting a child following sexual grooming and sexual communication with a child.
The authorities, on Thursday, June 3, revealed that the Guyanese-Born, TCI resident was charged with four additional offences - unlawful carnal knowledge, attempted rape, meeting a child following sexual grooming and sexual communications with a child.
The arrest of the high-ranking Salvation Army officer sent ripples through the non-profit Christian organization, with the local administrators scurrying to put out the fire, which created a public relations nightmare.
Todd Foss, volunteer advisory board chair of The Salvation Army TCI, released a statement to media on Friday, May 28, 2021, admitting the board was aware of the incident, but said they could not comment further because the matter was in the hands of investigators, rather pointing to the mountain of good that the volunteer organization has done across the globe.
"As volunteers and supporters of our community, we would like to remind the public of the countless good works that the Salvation Army has undertaken over the years and the vital ongoing programmes it operates daily. Our important building project, The Brighter Futures Community Centre, will continue to move forward regardless of the outcome of the legal proceeding,” he said at the time.
The incident also drew the ire of the populace, who poured condemnation on the string of incidents committed by supposedly trusting Christian officer.
Head of crime and public protection, Superintendent of Police Lisa Mitcheson, told the media at the time that the Royal Turks and Caicos Islands Police Force takes every report of child abuse very seriously.
"We urge all members of the community to report any concerns or suspicious activity to the police so that they can ensure that all children of the TCI are protected from harm,” Mitcheson was quoted as saying.
Ms Tammy Grant appeared for the Office of the Director of Public Prosecution, while Lara Maroof appeared for the Defense.