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Band director accused of sex with student
Michael Miller

BAMBERG, S.C. - Bamberg-Ehrhardt High School’s band director is accused of having sex with a 14-year-old student, Bamberg Police Chief George Morris said Thursday.

Michael Miller, 36, of Orangeburg will face two counts each of lewd act on a minor under 16 and second-degree criminal sexual conduct with a minor.

Warrants allege Miller and teen engaged in sexual intercourse in the school’s band room in August and December of 2009. A bond hearing for Miller is scheduled for 10 a.m. Friday.

Morris said Miller was originally scheduled to turn himself in Thursday morning.

“His attorney called, saying (Miller) wouldn’t be in until after noon,” Morris said. “He said his client had overdosed on something and he went to the Orangeburg hospital.”

Morris said Miller’s attorney is Jonathan Harvey of Columbia. Phone messages left at Harvey’s office Thursday were not returned.

Miller was scheduled to be booked at the Bamberg County Detention Center Thursday evening following his release from the Regional Medical Center.

Miller and his wife, B-EHS Assistant Principal Denise Miller, had been on paid administrative leave pending the result of the police investigation, which was requested by the student’s family.

According to a supplemental Bamberg police incident report, the 14-year-old student told authorities Denise Miller came to her classroom, emptied her bag, took her cell phone and told her to go to the band room. She further claimed Mrs. Miller knocked over a trophy that broke and struck the teen on the side of her face, the report said.

Morris said Denise Miller will not be charged.

Bamberg School District 1 Superintendent Phyllis Schwarting says Miller told her he will resign from his position. The district will take no disciplinary action against Denise Miller, Schwarting said.

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“She is totally another victim in this scenario,” Schwarting said. “The board of trustees will have to be informed of any resignation or approve any termination during its next meeting Feb. 22.”

Schwarting says no similar incident involving a teacher and a student has occurred in Bamberg 1 since she became superintendent in 2000. She also said that hiring a new band director at this point in the school year will be difficult, if not impossible.

“He doesn’t have an assistant, and I don’t know how to get someone in there immediately,” Schwarting said. “This could possibly mean the end of the band program for this school term. I hate it for the students.”

“It’s something you don’t ever expect,” the superintendent said. “We will deal with it as best we can and move forward.”

T&D Staff Writer Phil Sarata can be reached by e-mail at psarata@timesanddemocrat.com or by phone at 803-533-5540.

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