West Jordan man who drugged, sexually assaulted teen sent back to prison

A registered sex offender from West Jordan was sent back to prison Monday for sexually assaulting a 17-year-old and recording the assault.

A registered sex offender from West Jordan was sent back to prison Monday for sexually assaulting a 17-year-old and recording the assault. (Zolnierek, Shutterstock)

Estimated read time: 2-3 minutes

SALT LAKE CITY — "I don't really know how to get close to anybody anymore."

That's what a victim who was drugged and sexually assaulted by a West Jordan man who then distributed a recording of the assault on a pornography website testified in a 3rd District courtroom.

The victim said the assault "tore away" his relationships, and he never knows if someone wants to hurt him. If anyone touches him, he "freaks out."

"Being around men makes me nervous, especially big men," he said.

The victim testified before John Terry Miller, 50, was sentenced to two consecutive terms of zero to five years in the Utah State Prison. He pleaded guilty to unlawful sexual conduct with a 16- or 17-year-old, reduced from a first-degree felony to a third-degree felony, and dealing in materials harmful to a minor, a third-degree felony.

The victim testified during Miller's sentencing on Nov. 14, but Judge Vernice Trease didn't impose the sentence until Monday so she could have time to consider support letters filed on Miller's behalf.

Robert Banta, Miller's former sex offender treatment counselor, also testified at the sentencing hearing. He said he began working with Miller in 2015 following his release from prison. Miller was convicted in 2008 of enticing a minor in one case and unlawful sexual activity with minors in another, according to court records, and was sentenced to six years in prison. He was also convicted in 2000 of dealing in harmful materials to a minor. In that case, he was given a suspended five-year prison sentence and placed on probation.

Following his 2015 prison release, Miller was in sex offender treatment until his discharge in 2018, Banta said. He clarified that Miller's discharge came before Miller was charged with new offenses during the same year.

Despite Miller's latest crime, Banta said Miller is "desirous to make changes" and that the risk Miller poses to the community is "minimal." However, he acknowledged that risk assessment reports and sex offender treatment can't predict a person's future behavior.

Miller was charged in July 2018 after he approached a 17-year-old boy who was in front of a convenience store "scrounging for money" and saying he needed to call his grandmother. Miller offered to take the teen back to his motel room so he could use his phone, according to charging documents.

Once there, "Miller gave him some pills to 'help with his anxiety,'" one of which was Depakote, which is used to treat those with epilepsy and bipolar disorder.

The boy told investigators he was "drugged" and "blacked out at times."

When the teen regained consciousness, he was being sexually assaulted by Miller, the charges state. Police say Miller recorded the incident on his cellphone.

"Miller told him he sends videos to a friend and has them put on a porn site," according to the charges. Miller also showed the teen "photos of 'other naked kids.'"

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