The University of Wisconsin-La Crosse has canceled the summer school contract of a professor charged with sexually assaulting a minor who police identified as the victim of a 45-year-old La Crosse man in a separate case.
Paul Miller, 47, of La Crosse and has agreed to remain off campus until the case is resolved.
Miller was charged earlier this month with second-degree sexual assault of a child younger than 16. The incident occurred June 13, when several children were staying overnight at Miller’s residence in preparation for a birthday party the next day, the complaint states.
According to a La Crosse Police Department report, a 14-year-old girl told investigators that Miller slept in the same bed as her, as well as kissed, fondled and performed oral sex on her. When interviewed by police, Miller told investigators that he did indeed sleep in the same bed as the girl but did not do anything inappropriate.
Because of the severity of the allegations, UW-L canceled Miller’s contract to teach a summer course, UW-L Chancellor Joe Gow said. Miller is an associate professor of chemistry hired by the university in 2000.
Gow said the university respects the due process rights of its employees, but if charges against a faculty member affect his or her ability to work, the university can take action. “I think it is in everyone’s best interest that he is not teaching or on campus until the legal process has concluded,” Gow said.
Jonathan Hart, 45, of La Crosse is also facing sexual assault charges for raping the same 14-year-old girl. According to charges filed July 1, Hart is charged with sexually assaulting her multiple times during a 16-month period, using religion and a relationship with the minor to control her.
In the complaint, officers state that a La Crosse pastor told police the minor had informed him of being in a relationship with Hart and having sexual relations for more than a year. When interviewed, the girl told an advocate that she and Hart were “going to be together forever” and were “meant to be together in God’s eye.”
The girl stated the relationship had started out as boyfriend and girlfriend and then the defendant proposed and gave her a ring, using the Bible to control her, according to the complaint.
According to the interview, the child stated that she had her own room at Hart’s residence, had planned on giving him children and described having sex with Hart on several occasions over a period of March 2014 to June 2015. When contacted by police, Hart met with officers June 29 but said that after speaking with his attorney had nothing to say. Police then arrested him.