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Former Westmont Teacher Has Charges Dropped

Cambria County District Attorney Greg Neugebauer confirmed that the second, and only remaining, criminal charge against former Westmont elementary school teacher Shawn Miller was dropped at the end of last year.

The charge for Victim 2 was filed in May 2022, and accused Miller of another count of Indecent Assault of a child under 13 years old.

We reported in July of last year, the charges against Miller for Victim 1 were dismissed. Those charges included Indecent Assault and the more serious accusations of Rape and Sexual Assault of a student at the Westmont Elementary school in 2015 or 2016, according to the original affidavit.

” A case against Shawn Miller was withdrawn in November 2023. The Commonwealth is unable to move forward with this case due to circumstances out of our control, however, The Commonwealth stands ready and willing to prosecute this case in the event that we are able to refile charges. The legislature has extended the statute of limitations relative to these types of offenses over the past decade, recognizing the impact on an individual subjected to traumatic events, and the myriad of responses and time lines experienced in each unique situation. It takes an incredible amount of strength for a survivor of abuse to come forward and tell their story. Even more strength is needed to testify at a trial in front of many strangers. It isn’t an easy thing to do for anyone, yet alone a child. A victim may, for any number of reasons, go from being willing and able to proceed through the entire process, to being unwilling or unable. As society increases its understanding of survivors of traumatic experiences, we must be aware of the reality that more harm can be caused by losing sight of justice for that victim. In certain circumstances, justice means the withdrawal of charges that depend primarily on their testimony.

Prosecutors must be ever mindful of the impact that the progression of a case can have on a victim.”

According to the Pennsylvania Department of Education’s Teacher Information Management System, Miller no longer has teaching credentials in the state.

The original affidavit for Victim 1 outlined what the District Attorney’s office found in Miller’s personnel file obtained from the Westmont School District. It said an investigatory meeting was held in 2020 where Miller resigned in the face of 20 to 30 “touching” complaints filed against him in the district.

In fact, in 2011, he was investigated by the Cambria County District Attorney at the time. However, according to the 2022 criminal complaint, the DA’s office decided against criminal charges in 2011, but asked the Westmont school administration to require him to go to counseling and undergo a psychosexual evaluation.

The original complaint said the district failed to take those actions.

We filed a Right-to-Know request asking to see Miller’s personnel file. We wanted to see who in the school administration failed to follow up on Miller’s troubling behavior detailed in the court documents.

The school district refused to provide us with a chance to examine his personnel history.

We appealed to the state office of open records. It sided with the school district in that it could not require the district to turn those records over to us.

However, the office of open records ruling did leave the door open for Westmont to grant our request, saying an agency, such as the district, may release part or the entire non-public records in the public interest. Its ruling said such openness builds trust and confidence in the agency’s process and procedure.

The Westmont school district still hasn’t released any parts of how it internally handled the Miller complaints.

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