The Good Book condones slavery and exploitation in multiple chapters and verses, so Reginald Wayne Miller, the president and founder of South Carolina’s Cathedral Bible College, can still be considered a true man of the Bible. But if the charges against him are true, there’s something else he deserves to be called: a felon.
A judge put Miller on home detention and had him fitted with an electronic ankle monitor just days into an ongoing federal investigation. The probe allegedly revealed that the former pastor habitually forced foreign students to perform non-academic work on the campus and at his home for a pittance or for nothing; pay ranged from $0 to $50 a week. Prosecutors say that Miller retaliated against those who complained or refused, by blustering that he would cancel their student visas, in effect sending them packing to their country of origin.
“I don’t think we’ve identified all of the potential victims yet,” said Carrie Fisher, the assistant U.S. attorney prosecuting the case. Fisher said some victims may have already left the country and some may be former students who have yet to come forward. “Our investigation just started this week.”
Agents with Homeland Security Investigations filed a criminal complaint against Miller this week saying they have probable cause to charge him with forced labor, a felony that carries a maximum prison sentence of 20 years for each count. Investigators say Miller forced foreign students to work at the campus and his personal residence for as little as $25 per week. Miller threatened to cancel the students’ visas if they complained or didn’t comply with his demands, according to an affidavit filed this week.
Some of the students say that the school has no meaningful curriculum and that it primarily exists to trap vulnerable young people into years of forced servitude.
An affidavit filed this week with a criminal complaint against Miller outlines interviews Homeland Security investigators conducted with eight Cathedral Bible College students. Those students told investigators that the classes offered at the college “were not real” and the main focus of the school is having students work full-time hours at the school and at Miller’s home.
Federal law limits those on student visas to a maximum of 20 hours of work per week and that work must be an integral part of the student’s educational program. …
One student told investigators… that he was paid $50 per week for about 32 hours of work. Dr. Miller told [the student] if he did not like this work, he could go home or he [Miller] would call the Immigration and Naturalization Service,” the affidavit states.
Investigators said Miller misrepresented the school’s education, working and housing situations to foreign students who applied to attend Cathedral Bible College.
Pupils have complained about expired food and “long periods of time without any hot water, heat or air conditioning.”
It isn’t the first time that the man of God finds himself in trouble with the law.
In 2006, the Horry County Police Department charged Miller with lewdness and prostitution after Miller exposed himself to an undercover police officer in a bath house at Myrtle Beach State Park, according to a police report. Miller entered into a pre-trial intervention program and the charge ultimately was expunged.
(Thanks to Buckley for the link)