Meet Heath Miller – a 34 year old music teacher at H.L. Watkins Middle School in Palm Beach County. He’s popular with the teachers, the kids, and the parents. And “cool” too… just months ago he fatally shot an intruder in his Wellington home!
The intruder wound up dead after he was shot by Heath Miller, 34, a popular music teacher at Howell L. Watkins Middle School. The dead man is identified as Robert Rishard Tomlin, 22. According to Palm Beach County Sheriff’s Office spokesman Pete Palenzuela, Tomlin entered the home Miller was renting through a back sliding-glass door at about at approximately 1:50 a.m. Miller told authorities he saw the silhouette of an individual with a handgun coming through the bedroom door and fired.
Band parents had nothing but praise for Miller’s leadership, according to the Post. They like him for his work with the school’s awarding-winning Percussion Academy, and how he uses military-style discipline – push-ups – to keep the students in line. “He reminds you of how the teachers were back in the days,” Latracia Hayes told the Post. Her son, Jacoby, was in the band part of this school year. “He understands the kids.”
Turns out that Miller “understands” the kids in ways that he shouldn’t. To top it off, he “understands” a few things about the other teachers, too. Maybe this is a new kind of discipline?
According to the Palm Beach Post, Miller was jailed last month on charges of having sex with a student and fondling other students. Afterwards, he was hit with more charges after more victims came forward, including rape. At Palm Beach Gardens, female teachers spoke openly about his reputation for having “threesomes” with other teachers. He had multiple affairs with women in the school, including a Watkins math teacher who told police her rendezvous with Miller also occurred in the band uniform room. He also had sex with two eighth-graders and fondled two others.
He became so bold that, by the end, he pulled one girl from her remedial reading class with no explanation and raped her in April, the report said. Days later, he barged into a guidance counselor’s office where the girl sat crying and asked the counselor to leave. The counselor refused. Police also say he tried to coerce an adult mistress to ask victims to recant their reports to police.
This guy wins the sexual predator medal. We wonder if he sexually abused neighbors’ little dogs too.
Through it all, Miller remained an admired, even “adored” figure by most. In 2007, he was voted the most popular teacher, having arrived at the school just two years earlier. Girls interviewed by police said they didn’t want to say anything against Miller because he had “done so much for them.” Police noted in their report that the girls’ testimony may cause “each of them great difficulty in their future and within the black community, as Mr. Miller is highly respected and considered by many as a role model.”
While teachers say they were having sex with Miller as early as October 2007, the first case involving a student came to light April 16, when a bus driver told school police about a girl on her route who complained Miller had molested her. Additional students came forward after Miller’s arrest. Their interviews subsequently led investigators to a Watkins teacher who said she had sex with Miller with the permission of Miller’s wife. Another teacher who admitted to having sex with Miller in her classroom said it was not consensual, and that she was intimidated by him. A third woman also admitted to having consensual sex with Miller with his wife’s permission and said Miller asked her to call the girls he allegedly molested and tell them to recant their stories. Police say they also are investigating reports that Miller had sex with girls who are now in high school.
Miller faces charges including sexual battery by someone in a position of authority, 5 counts of lewd and lascivious molestation, 3 counts of obstruction, and 2 counts of evidence tampering and trespassing.
The Palm Beach Post reports that now, the shooting that happened in Miller’s home is “getting a second look.”
After Miller was arrested, the Palm Beach County Sheriff’s Office got tips that the home-invasion shooting was related to the sex assault allegations. Investigators have not connected the 22-year-old man Miller shot and killed, Robert Rashard Tomlin, to any of Miller’s alleged victims. “If there is any information that comes forth, and it’s viable information, we will follow up,” said Sheriff’s Detective Sgt. David Conklin.
For more on Miller, read this expose.
As of September, 2010, Miller is still in jail awaiting trial.