NEW YORK: Trial Begins For Christian Activist Charged With Helping Kidnap The Daughter Of Lesbian Mom

We’ve been following this crime for many years here on JMG. The Associated Press reports:

A Virginia businessman was being kind, not condemning homosexuality, when he helped a mother move her daughter out of the country and away from her ex-partner, his lawyer said Wednesday at the start of the man’s parental kidnapping trial. Attorney Robert Hemley denied that Philip Zodhiates, of Waynseboro, was trying to obstruct the other woman’s parental rights, telling jurors he may not even have known what those rights were, when he drove Lisa Miller and 7-year-old Isabella Miller-Jenkins to the Canadian border in 2009, after Miller had renounced her homosexuality.

Miller and the girl crossed over the Rainbow Bridge in Niagara Falls and flew out of Toronto to Nicaragua, prosecutors said, where they have remained since. Prosecutors said Zodhiates, owner of a direct mail business that serves conservative Christian groups, helped orchestrate Miller’s move when it became clear she was losing a yearslong custody battle to Janet Jenkins, with whom she’d entered a civil union in Vermont in 2000.

Hemley called the discussion about homosexuality “a smokescreen.” “This case is not about attitudes about lesbians or gays or same-sex marriage,” he said. “When someone asks for help, (Zodhiates) helps without regard to sexual orientation, without regard to religion or creed.” Zodhiates has pleaded not guilty to federal charges of international parental kidnapping and conspiracy.

Earlier this year Pastor Kenneth Miller (no relation) was sentenced to 27 months in prison after losing his appeal. The whereabouts of Isabella Miller-Jenkins remains unknown.

RELATED: On the same day in 2012 that Kenneth Miller was found guilty of abetting the kidnapping of Isabella to Nicaragua, lesbian mom Janet Jenkins filed a RICO lawsuit against many of the parties suspected of conspiring in the crime, including Liberty University, the parent of the vile anti-gay hate group Liberty Counsel, whose president Mat Staver was specifically named in the suit. In July 2015 the Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals overturned a lower court’s ruling that Liberty University’s liability insurance policy covers such lawsuits. In 2012 American Family Association radio host Bryan Fischer called for the creation of an “underground railroad” to aid Christians who kidnap the children of gay parents.