INDIANAPOLIS, Ind. – Marion County Republican Central Committee Chairman Jim Merritt renewed calls for Indianapolis City-County Councilman Jeff Miller to step down amid an investigation into child molestation allegations.
In a statement released Tuesday morning, Merritt said Miller’s current legal situation makes him incapable of being able to fully serve his constituents. He suggested that Miller should resign to take care of “personal matters and his family.”
Here’s the full statement:
Given Jeff Miller’s current legal situation, it is our belief that he is unable to fully serve the residents of his district and the people of Indianapolis. We still believe that in the best interest of his constituents, he should resign to take care of his personal matters and his family. This would allow someone to step into his spot that is able to give their full attention to the constituents of district 16. The Marion County Republican Party will continue to look for a quality candidate to replace Jeff Miller, whether that be through a caucus or in the 2019 election.
Merritt previously said Miller planned to resigned, but the councilman never sent a letter of resignation.
"He can go to as many public meetings as he wants to, he can be on the council," Merritt said. "But, his effectiveness is gone. I think the constituents, 30,000 or so constituents, have to know he is not being effective and that Mr. Miller needs to resign."
CBS4 went to district 16, which Miller represents, to talk to constituents about the decision.
"I know he has a reputation of working for district 16 but to me all that’s thrown out the window with these allegations until its settled," said Mike Angel, who lives and works in Fountain Square. "I would like to see him step down and get somebody in there that’s going to work for us."
Others say they are torn or want to wait for the court proceeding to wrap before a decision about the council is made.
"He’s a really good councilor," said Jim Dewes, another constituent. "He’s been very responsive. It’s just really sad to see this happen. Maybe he will come out of this and not be in trouble with the law. On the other hand, you don’t know."
Monday night, Miller was removed from all three committees on which he serves. During the full City-County Council meeting, he recused himself from voting on any matters involving the Marion County Prosecutor’s Office, the agency that filed charges in the child molestation case.
Brian Mowery will replace him on the Metropolitan and Economic Development Committee; Scott Kreider will take his post on Public Works and Marilyn Pfisterer will take his Community Affairs and Education role. Miller can still attend committee meetings.
The councilman was in court Monday afternoon for his initial hearing. He faces three counts of child molesting after a girl told investigators Miller gave her massages that made her uncomfortable. A 10-year-old girl said Miller grabbed her rear end while giving her a piggyback ride.
According to court documents, Miller told investigators that he did not intend for his touching to be sexual in nature.