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Screenshot from video showing Prof. Mireille Miller-Young accosting pro-life youth.
Kirsten Andersen Kirsten Andersen Follow Kirsten

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‘Porn prof’ awaits sentencing after assault on pro-life teen

Kirsten Andersen Kirsten Andersen Follow Kirsten

The California professor who was caught on video in March stealing and destroying a pro-life group’s sign and physically assaulting a 16-year-old girl is in court today awaiting sentencing after pleading “no contest” in July to charges of theft, vandalism and battery stemming from the incident.

In advance of the sentencing hearing, Mireille Miller-Young, a professor of feminist and pornographic studies at the University of California at Santa Barbara (UCSB), released a letter of apology through her attorneys in which she admitted that stealing and defacing the “Survivors of the Abortion Holocaust” group’s sign was wrong.  The Santa Barbara News-Press obtained a copy of the letter, which reads in part:

I wish to apologize for my actions. ... The Survivors of the Abortion Holocaust group had a perfect right to come to UC Santa Barbara to express their views about women’s reproductive rights.  As much as the images they displayed were offensive and distressing to my students, and to me, I had no right to take their poster or destroy it.

The News-Press reported that Miller-Young made no apology for her physical assault against 16-year-old Thrin Short, which left the young girl with visible scratches on her arms.

Thrin’s older sister, Joan Short, 21, told the News-Press she was expecting more from the professor. 

“I guess I would like to see her say to her students, ‘I did a really stupid thing. You shouldn’t follow my example,’” Short said. “Before, some of the things she was saying was, ‘I had a right to do this. I set a good example for my students. I was showing them how to protect themselves.’  I think she should publicly say to her students, ‘I acted completely inappropriately.’”

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The News-Press also obtained several letters of support for Miller-Young filed with the court in advance of the hearing by her colleagues at UCSB, some of which were printed on university letterhead.

History professor Paul Spikard told the court he believes Miller-Young is the victim of “an energetic smear campaign that seems to have little to do with her person or her actions, and a great deal to do with fomenting racial hatred and rallying right-wing political sentiment.”

“It would be tragic if Dr. Miller-Young were sentenced to jail time or mandatory anger management classes based on the press’ portrayal of her as an Angry Black Woman,” Spikard wrote.

Another professor, Eileen Boris of the feminist studies department, told the court that both Miller-Young’s race and her pregnancy should be taken into account when evaluating her actions. “She was at the stage of a pregnancy when one is not fully one’s self fully, so the image of a severed fetus appeared threatening,” Boris wrote. “If she appears smiling on [the video of the theft and assault], she is ‘wearing the mask,’ that is, she is hiding her actual state through a strategy of self-presentation that is a cultural legacy of slavery.”

Miller-Young’s sentencing hearing had been scheduled for Thursday, but was rescheduled to Friday.

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