Christian Activist Sentenced To Three Years In Prison In The Parental Kidnapping Of Lesbian Mom’s Daughter

And another shoe drops in the case that will hopefully also ensnare Mat Staver and the Liberty Counsel. The Associated Press reports:

A Virginia businessman convicted of international parental kidnapping and conspiracy for his role in a same-sex couple’s child custody fight was sentenced Wednesday to three years in prison. Philip Zodhiates, Waynesboro, drove Lisa Miller and 7-year-old Isabella Miller-Jenkins from Virginia to the Canadian border in 2009 so they could fly from Toronto to Nicaragua. He also helped with their living arrangements in the Central American nation, according to Assistant U.S. Attorney Paul Van de Graaf.

Neither Miller nor Isabella, now 14, have been seen in the United States since. Lawyers for Zodhiates, the owner of a direct mail business that serves conservative Christian groups, denied that he was trying to obstruct the other mother’s parental rights by helping Miller, who became an evangelical Christian after dissolving her civil union with Janet Jenkins in Vermont. In court papers, Zodhiates said Miller took advantage of him.

In February 2016 a federal appeals court upheld the conviction of Pastor Kenneth Miller (no relation to Lisa Miller) for his role in the kidnapping, sentencing him to 27 months in prison. 

Yesterday a federal court ruled that the conclusion of the criminal cases means that Liberty University, Liberty Counsel, and Mat Staver can now be included in the civil RICO suit filed years ago by Janet Jenkins, Isabella’s other mom. Two years ago Liberty University’s tort insurer ruled that their policy will not cover any monetary damages which may result from the RICO suit.

This afternoon Right Wing Watch posted a dissection of yesterday’s ruling, which I recommend you read to fully grok what may be coming for the remaining alleged conspirators. At this writing Liberty Counsel has yet to publicly react to any of this week’s developments.

  • Rebecca Gardner

    Only 3 years? What a shame.

    Think of all the years that innocent child has spent imprisoned by hate and brainwashing.

    • Mihangel apYrs

      whoever comes back will NOT be the person who the child would have matured into.

      • Rebecca Gardner

        Yup, and that breaks my heart. That child is going to be an awful, judgemental, hateful person and it’s not her fault. She will need to be deprogrammed.

        • j.martindale

          Some children rebel against parental tyranny. Let’s hope this child is one of them.

          • NancyP

            Plus, the now 14 year old child probably has or can gain access to the internet and find out about her story. Even if reading only the things the kidnapping mother allows, it should dawn on this child that she is a US citizen. She will likely want to go to the US and find out the truth for herself. Even if she is married (I don’t know every country’s marriage age laws – Nicaragua is as hard-line a Roman Catholic country as there is, so there may not be a law against child marriage), hubby is going to want the economic benefits of being married to a US citizen.

            I expect this kid will be able to escape Nicaragua.

      • CottonBlimp

        I know this is a morbid thing to say, but I’m not certain that child is still alive. Mentally stable mothers don’t kidnap children and flee the country.

        • Mihangel apYrs

          hope springs eternal . . .

    • David Walker

      Not even 3 years hanging by his balls would be sufficient. I want him separated from society, of course, but I want him punished. I want fucking revenge!

      • Todd20036

        Let’s not get my sexual escapades into this

    • Ninja0980

      Not to mention moving from place to place in order to stay on the run.
      She has had no childhood to speak of.

  • JoeMyGod

    What’s the going damages rate for stealing your child forever?

    • Rebecca Gardner

      My unending tears. This story still makes me cry my eyes out.

      • Christian1234567

        A mother had her child stolen from her. It is heartbreaking.

    • kcken

      Not enough. We know it would never be enough. I can’t imagine anything would fix the heartbreak. Horrible people …

      • Librarykid

        God’s chosen ones.

        • Xiao Ai: The Social Gadfly

          That’s number 3,651 of why I don’t follow their gawd.

          • Librarykid

            Like on Twitter?

      • Marissaekelly

        Google is paying 97$ per hour! Work for few hours and have longer with friends & family! !mj192d:
        On tuesday I got a great new Land Rover Range Rover from having earned $8752 this last four weeks.. Its the most-financialy rewarding I’ve had.. It sounds unbelievable but you wont forgive yourself if you don’t check it
        ➽➽;➽➽ http://GoogleFinancialJobsCash192ShopBlueGetPay$97Hour ★★✫★★✫★★✫★★✫★★✫★★✫★★✫★★✫★★✫★★✫★★✫★★✫★★✫★★✫★★✫★★✫★★✫★★:::::!mj192d:….,……

    • MT YVR

      Three easy payments of 19.95. /s

      • glass

        And a free plastic jesus bobble head for your dash if you call in the next 24 hours. Supplies are limited. 🙂

    • GayOldLady

      Whatever it is, it isn’t enough.

  • sisterfalconer

    Imagine if they were islamic. lol

    • Stogiebear

      If that were the case we’d have sent troops into Nicaragua to bomb and devastate the country in an attempt to liberate and reunite Ms Jenkins and the rest of us with the oil from that country. If the child were found that would just be icing on the cake.

  • lymis

    I think that all these people should, as a minimum, get sentenced to the exact length of time that Janet Jenkins is separated from her daughter.

    • Bj Lincoln

      YES! THIS!

  • KQCA

    Oh dear. Chris Chan purse-a-cushion.

  • JT

    RICO the fucking criminal cartel out of existence and into prison!

    • Rebecca Gardner

      Ya know. That’s a good idea. If the Feds can RICO Bikers they totally have a valid reason to RICO these motherfuckers.

      The only downside is 24/7 War on Christians insanity from RWNJ “news” like Fox. That downside is worth it. Shine light on these cockroaches.

      • Chucktech

        Damn right the “downside” is worth it. Let them squeal their christian-persecuted heads off. God bothering fuckers…

    • JoeMyGod

      Sadly, it doesn’t appear that anybody else will face criminal charges. The RICO suit against all parties is a civil action and can only result in monetary damages.

      EDIT: Criminal charges against Lisa Miller ARE still pending but she remains somewhere in Nicaragua.

      • JT

        They need to search deeply into Libatee Konsel’s connections.

  • Bloody hell, how many nut jobs can one fit in the US!

    • David L. Caster

      A bunch. Certainly far more than a healthy amount.

    • Robert Conner

      Well, there are some 318.9 million people in the US. Evangelicals account for 26.3% of our population and Catholics for 22%. So it’s safe to say more than 153 million nut jobs.

  • Do Something Nice

    I’m guessing that the funds used to do this were tax exempt donations. That needs to be investigated because committing a crime kinda destroys your tax status.

  • Djurisk
    • djcoastermark

      Oooh calisthenics !

  • Lars Littlefield

    Finally. Some good news to chew on for the rest of the day! I look forward to the enormous fines and penalties Liberdee Cownsul will be forced to suffer. Wahoo!

  • Judas Peckerwood

    Huh, and there I was thinking that kidnapping is a SERIOUS crime.

  • margaretpoa

    Since it’s unlikely that Staver or Liberty will face criminal charges, I hope that Jenkins sues them right out of existence. Maybe they can get a loan from the Pumpkinfuhrer, since he’s delivering a commencement address to a new class of young Fascists.

    • Ernest Endevor

      It’s a RICO case so they could be convicted of racketeering. That would involve jail. A guy can hope.

      • William

        Go for the asset seizure.

  • Jmdintpa
  • kaydenpat

    Ha ha!

  • Treant

    Three years seems a bit trim for kidnapping and transportation over state lines?

  • CPT_Doom

    I have no doubt that Lisa Miller might take advantage of someone to flee the country. The thing is, you report that king of thing to authorities immediately after it’s clear you’ve been had, not years later.

    • sfbob

      The case has been pending for many years; the kidnapping didn’t happen recently but neither was the case filed recently. It began with the separation, then with Miller moving to Virginia hoping to avoid having to comply with the terms of the custody agreement because it came from “godless” Vermont. That battle carried on for some time. I believe in fact that the Virginia courts ruled in Miler’s favor, overlooking the Full Faith and Credit Clause of the Constitution (Article IV, Section 1):

      “Full Faith and Credit shall be given in each
      State to the public Acts, Records, and judicial Proceedings of every
      other State. And the Congress may by general Laws prescribe the Manner
      in which such Acts, Records and Proceedings shall be proved, and
      the Effect thereof.”

      You’ll recall that Full Faith and Credit was implicated extensively during the fight for marriage equality.

      When it came clear that the lower courts’ rulings were not going to stand up, THEN the kidnapping took place. It was reported at that time. That was several years ago. It’s taken all this time for this specific piece of the case to make its way through the courts.

  • i’ve followed this case for a long time. i am not a mom. i’m an aunt and regular sitter for Precious Younglings, often, however. i know what to do when that is my job.

    i have to admit, if i were the offended victim of having my child kidnapped like this? well. let’s start with how this would’ve gone if it were just any other sloppy custody battle. let’s start with how even in those regular court cases, no religious con artists are allowed to stand up and make a “defense” for their client on that basis (religion). str8 people enjoy this element of true Civilization and we don’t.

    that, to me, is all that has ever mattered. my dad was a judge; for that reason i tend not to make confident statements that i know anything about any particular case. but what i do know?

    if i murder someone, if i steal from a store in broad daylight, if i run a red light… bringing in hatey Mchatesqueer will NOT help me win my case. but for some strange reason, in this situation, it did, and continues to do so. that is wrong.

  • No More GOP.

    He’s getting off way light.

  • thom


  • also: sue them. sue libertard and all their parts Into the Ground. all the way down. suck every bit of money from them that your lawyers would like to. the child is likely fucked at this point and the best you can do, when you finally get custody/contact again? buy the world’s best therapists, and use the rest to build a case against all the bloodsuckers who latched on to this case pretending it was always about What Jeebus Wants(tm).

  • bkmn

    These Xtains are very stupid people. Staver’s piss poor court case success rate is available and still they rely on Staver and Libety Console for their legal defense.

    • sfbob

      Their slogan:

      “Hire us for your legal needs. We’re bound to win a case eventually.”

    • clay

      But, he was Dean of a Law School!

      • William

        The diplomas are inside boxes of Cracker Jacks.

  • abqdan

    I do hope he makes some nice new friends in jail.

    • Homo Erectus

      When he gets out he can sell buckets of slop on TV.

  • Robert Conner

    Whether it’s sheltering serial pedophiles from prosecution, or murdering abortion providers, denying medical care to their own children, praying the gay away, or “merely” refusing to perform their duties as public employees, Christofascist assholes think they’re above the law.

    • RoFaWh

      It is my fervent hope that the xtian reich will overreach on their pretense of religious persecution and trigger, at long last, some proper regulation of “churches” that are little more than grifting hate groups.

      Let us pray…

      • (((GC))) (with a nod to the idea that we need to do more than talk to our cats pray… this kind of hateful, disgusting, odious Christain overreach in tearing a family apart, stealing a daughter from her mother, stealing a mother from her daughter, will hopefully inspire some public resolve and courage against those Christofascist assholes.)

      • dagobarbz, fine Italian shoes

        Agreed! How long will decent human beings (which is probably a majority of us) be willing to stand by and watch as this destructive, toxic religion flails and stomps around in an attempt to control everything and everyone?

        I am sure these fine Xian people thought they were right in kidnapping this child. I would hope that courts would send a message that, no, this ISN’T right and you can’t do it.

    • Xiao Ai: The Social Gadfly

      The sadism runs deep in Christianity.

      • Todd20036

        I can respect that. Except the masochists aren’t participating willingly. And that’s the problem

        • Xiao Ai: The Social Gadfly

          I admit it. I was way too independent to be a good submissive when I lived in SF. Dog knows I tried! 😀

    • Ninja0980

      But they aren’t throwing us off rooftops so no big deal right?

      • clay

        (well, they’re pushing us to throw ourselves off rooftops, so, no.)

  • Three years for kidnapping? I thought kidnapping was the most serious crime after murder? Oh wait, you get off easy when you do it for Jesus.

    • Treant

      Rumor has it that there were lesbians involved, too.

    • Lumpy Gaga

      “Jesus pay my ransom!” is the new “Jesus take the wheel!”

  • Marti386


  • Bernie Keefe

    If their insurer will not pay out any monetary damages, she should shoot for Staves to be disbarred.

    • clay

      If their insurer will not pay out any monetary damages, she can drive “Liberty” “University”, ADF, and Mat Staver into bankruptcy.

  • tbj5

    Nunes keeps breaking the law repeatedly and flagrantly on live TV.

    He’s not allowed to reveal this shit. The only reason he has to is to give the suspects a heads up. And the only reason Nunes has to do that is to cover his own guilty ass.

    He’s compromised the whole investigation in order to destroy it.

  • coram nobis

    Spicecake announced that Donald will give the commencement speech at Liberty University this spring.

    • David Walker

      Both Corinthians will be his bodyguards.

      • just gave me a good idea for a two-man Halloween costume concept!

        • David Walker

          Great. Do I get royalties? (kidding)

          • Bryan

            If by royalties you mean the royal treatment, and by royal treatment you mean incest with the costume and the Corinthians….. that’d still be up to them but they’re royals and it’s incest, they’ll probably be okay with it, they seem to like that sort of shit.

    • Statistics Palin

      A fake president will give a commencement address at a fake university. Seems about right.

      • coram nobis

        Accreditation can be a bitch.

        • Homo Erectus

          We don’t need no stinkin’ accreditation!

  • Jaywithwords

    The same University Trump is speaking at for graduation…

    • William

      He will probably announce his “religious freedom” order that day. If he isn’t behind bars by then.

  • ” the owner of a direct mail business that serves conservative Christian groups”

    jesus sh*t in a bucket! Buy yourself a mineograph machine and all of a sudden you’re running a direct mail scam I mean business

  • Clive Johnson

    Excellent news, which casts a warm glow over the evening. What a glorious thing to be able to see Staver behind bars.

    • Lumpy Gaga

      A heated butt plug for the soul.

  • Gigi

    Finally some good news for a change.

  • m_lp_ql_m

    Does “Zodhiates” rhyme with “Socarides”?

  • Adam King

    Bless their hearts.

  • JWC

    can we get Tony Perkins on that bus too

    • RoFaWh

      And that fat guy, you know the one I mean, the one with too many kids.

  • KnownDonorDad

    And another shoe drops in the case that will hopefully also ensnare Mat Staver and the Liberty Counsel.

    I don’t know, I don’t dare hope…I don’t think the world is that kind.

  • Ninja0980

    Three years in prison is a slap on the wrist and will never make up for the years Janet lost and still continues to lose with her daughter being kidnapped.
    These people are vile rotten scum in every sense of the word.

  • dogsRgoodpeople

    MSM should be running this story. People not yet aware that mainstream American evangelicals are nothing short of cultist deserve to know.

  • Bryan

    Because 3 years is TOTALLY comparable with an 8 year kidnapping. Why…that’s one for every leap year!

    • Homo Erectus

      My sediments exactly.

      • Bryan

        How about….for every day she’s been missing, the World’s Strongest Man and Woman get to put on steel-toed boots and jam ’em up Staver et al.’s limp useless ballsacks?

  • fuzzybits

    What a hard sentence.

  • Jacob

    I love it!!!

  • rednekokie

    It’s about effing time — but three years is chump change.
    No religious organization should have any say so in any legal decision —

    This guy broke the law — the religious group broke the law — all of them are guilty.

  • Maggie 4NoH8

    I needed this today.

  • M Jackson

    Staved next. And while they’re at it re-inter Kim Davis

  • The_Wretched

    This is such a heart wrenching case; I’m pleased but surprised the remaining mother is winning her legal battles and extremely happy that that asshole got jail time.

  • Jack

    I’d been hoping he’d get more.

    But the civil suit is good news. Quantum of proof is preponderance of the evidence.

  • Yalma Cuder-Zicci

    Onward christian soooooldiers, marching as to….jail.

  • William

    I hope Janet Jenkins ends up owning Liberty Council property and Mat Staver’s home.

  • Mickey Bitsko

    It’s a start

  • Snarkaholic

    Give him another seven years for wearing that outfit!

  • bmoore4026

    God willing, the mansex will be hard and painful.

  • PBGVNinja

    Damages will be for a court (jury/judge) to decide if the defendants lose the case. Defendants in this case being the Liberty Counsel, Mr. Staver et al. They could be huge. The problem for Mr. Staver & Co. is that in a civil case, preponderance of evidence is what counts as the standard… not innocence until proven guilty. It could be very expensive for them if the facts prove to the satisfaction of the jury and judge that they caused harm to the other party. The amount of damages depends on the law used to pursue the case and in the case of a RICO case I believe that the awards can be very hefty indeed.

  • Marissaekelly

    Google is paying 97$ per hour! Work for few hours and have longer with friends & family! !mj192d:
    On tuesday I got a great new Land Rover Range Rover from having earned $8752 this last four weeks.. Its the most-financialy rewarding I’ve had.. It sounds unbelievable but you wont forgive yourself if you don’t check it
    ➽➽;➽➽ http://GoogleFinancialJobsCash192ShopBlueGetPay$97Hour ★★✫★★✫★★✫★★✫★★✫★★✫★★✫★★✫★★✫★★✫★★✫★★✫★★✫★★✫★★✫★★✫★★✫★★:::::!mj192d:….,…….

  • JCF
  • Homo Erectus
  • nocadrummer

    Before prison: ( · )
    After prison: ( ● )
    During prison: 8==>…. ( ʘ )