No visitation for chaining parents

Published 10:32 am Thursday, August 18, 2011

The Dexter parents who chained their 5-year-old son to his crib were court ordered Wednesday to write letters of apology to their two sons.

Brian Miller

Brian Miller, 33, and Charity Miller, 26, are nearly one month into a year-long jail sentence on convictions of false imprisonment and malicious punishment.

The Millers appeared in Mower County District Court Wednesday afternoon to report on their progress on getting their children back. Judge Fred Wellmann ruled in June the couple will retain their parental rights, but they must continue working to reunify their family and receive counseling before the court will allow the children to return to their care.

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Attorney Dan Donnelly, representing Charity, said Charity “plans to take every step that she can” to reunify her family. Donnelly said she has already written her letters of apology to the boys, ages 5 and 8.

Charity Miller

The couple has undergone parenting assessments and psychological evaluations, according to Donnelly. Assistant County Attorney Aaron Jones said the Millers have declined to take parenting classes offered in the Mower County jail.

Brian’s attorney, Tom Lenway, said Brian wants to seek couple’s counseling for cognitive skills and development.

Jones said the Millers must prove they’re working toward being better parents.

“There seems to be no remorse by the parents in relation to what they’ve done to the children,” Jones said in court. “We’re at the beginning of a child protective matter; we’re not at the end.”

Wellmann ruled the Millers are to continue having no contact with their children, other than the apology letters, unless recommended by the childrens’ therapist. Mower County Human Services, the guardian ad litem and the Cherokee Tribe would have to approve the visitations, as well.

The couple is scheduled to appear in court Oct. 19. At that time, an extension can be filed for the children to continue living in their foster home for another six months. The Mower County Attorney’s Office can also file for another termination of parental rights on different grounds in October.