University prof pleads no contest after attack on pro-life students
A California professor who was videotaped attacking and taking property from pro-life youth in March pled no contest Thursday, meaning she will be convicted on charges of grand theft, vandalism, and battery. A sentencing hearing has been set for late August.
The victims of Mireille Miller-Young, an associate professor of feminist studies at the University of California at Santa Barbara, were staging a demonstration to educate about abortion and promote its alternatives.
The students included Thrin and Joan Short, daughters of Life Legal Defense Foundation Legal Director, Katie Short.
While calling the police at the time of the attack, the sisters captured the altercation on video, which shows Miller-Young shoving and grabbing 16-year old Thrin, who bore visible scratches on both arms following the assault. Despite Thrin's wounds, the Short family has called for restraint in speaking about Miller-Young.
The footage also captured Miller-Young parading through campus with the stolen sign, leading students in the theft and destruction of it. When interviewed by the police after the incident, Miller-Young said she believed that her theft and destruction of the sign had "set a good example for her students."
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"Today's plea brings us one step closer to seeing justice done in this case," said Katie Short, an attorney. "Pro-life advocates should not be subjected to intimidation and violence for lawfully exercising their right to free speech, and we are happy to see that Ms. Miller-Young is being held accountable for her actions."
To date, the university has made no public statement about the assault nor issued an apology for the criminal actions of its employee and students. Two weeks after the incident, Vice-Chancellor Michael Young sent a letter to University of California at Santa Barbara students and faculty decrying the presence of "outsiders coming into our midst to provoke us, to taunt us and attempt to turn us against one another.”
In what appeared to be a denouncement of the teens advocating a pro-life worldview, he urged students to notify the Office of Student Life if they "feel harassed" or believe that "outsiders" are violating the law. It is not known whether the university has imposed any disciplinary sanctions on Miller-Young, who remains listed in the faculty directory.