January 5, 2021 (LifeSiteNews) – LifeSiteNews has launched a petition asking President Donald Trump to pardon a Christian mother and three other people who were unjustly convicted of “international kidnapping” after helping the mother and her daughter escape a traumatic home situation over ten years ago.
In 2009, Lisa Miller, with the help of two Mennonite pastors and a Christian businessman, left the United States with her daughter, Isabella. A court had ordered Miller’s former lesbian lover, Janet Jenkins, have visits with Isabella.
Jenkins is the former civil union partner of Miller, but Miller left Jenkins and the lesbian lifestyle behind about a year after Isabella’s birth.
Miller, who is Isabella’s birth mother, was to have custody over her daughter transferred to Jenkins by a Vermont judge in late 2009, despite the fact that Jenkins has neither a blood relation nor a legal relationship with Isabella whatsoever. Miller decided to end the court-ordered visitations to Jenkins after Isabella, then 6 years old, alleged that Jenkins, 44, forced her to bathe naked with her and subsequently voiced suicidal thoughts.
Steven Crampton, Miller’s attorney for the case, told LifeSiteNews in 2008, “We have affidavits from two different licensed counselors and an affidavit from a school teacher” as well as witnesses among the child’s Sunday school teachers, indicating that the child has suffered traumatic effects from the visits.
The judge ordered new visitation dates for Jenkins later that year even though there was a wide range of evidence supporting the claimed abuse. The ruling supposedly stemmed from the fact that Jenkins was in a civil union with Miller at the time that Miller sought artificial insemination and became pregnant. Although Miller lived in Virginia, which at the time had a strict law denying the recognition of same sex unions from other states, the courts there repeatedly upheld the Vermont custody rulings.
In light of the deteriorating situation, and for fear of her daughter’s mental health, well-being and safety, Miller fled with Isabella to Nicaragua. She was helped in this process by two Mennonite pastors, Kenneth and Timothy Miller (neither of whom is related to Lisa or Isabella), and Christian businessman Philip Zodhiates, who assisted the family to cross the border into Canada and subsequently board a flight to Nicaragua.
Zhodiates lost his appeal with the U.S. Supreme Court against his conviction. He claims to have broken no laws, since Miller had full custody at the time of flight, and he was in fact helping protect the child from abuse that judges and prosecutors wilfully ignored.
It is understood that Mennonites in Nicaragua received Miller and her daughter, sheltering them from local authorities. According to the Mennonite brothers, Isabella “has become an innocent victim of an ungodly agenda,” and they will even suffer death in the cause of protecting Isabella.
“[We] believe that God has given Lisa sole responsibility to care and protect her own daughter since she has no known father. According to the Bible it is a war between good and evil, a battle between God and Satan. As congregations we stand united in this spiritual warfare against evil,” they said.
Although all three men who assisted in Miller’s escape with Isabella have already served time in federal prisons, a presidential pardon would serve to erase the blemish of a criminal record and restore justice, in some part.
For Lisa and Isabella, they are still serving time, in a sense, in self-exile, LifeSite’s petition argues. A presidential pardon for Miller would mean an end to the torment of being pursued for crimes she did not commit, and the ability to return home free. Miller has remained adamant that her actions were always in the interests of her daughter and did not constitute criminal behavior.
“Now, even though Isabella is considered a legal adult, Lisa Miller is still forced to ‘hide out’ abroad, away from her home country,” LifeSite’s petition says. “The time has come to call an end to the Millers’ exile.”
The president has already issued a number of pardons of late, as is customary at the end of any presidential term. Trump granted clemency to General Michael Flynn, whom he said should “never have been prosecuted,” commuted the sentence of former Congressman Steve Stockman, and pardoned his long-time friend Roger Stone.
“President Trump has been an unwavering ally to the Christian community, and he and his administration have done more for the pro-life cause and religious freedom than all other administrations combined,” LifeSite’s petition says. “By pardoning Lisa and the men who helped her and her daughter, President Trump could once again show his solidarity with the Christians who support and love him and continue to stand with him.”