Chicago Ridge mom charged with sex abuse

July 14, 2010

Cathleen Miller is charged with sexual assault and sexual abuse. Her alleged victims are 14 to 15 years old and freshmen at Richards High School in Oak Lawn. Miller is also accused of providing alcohol and marijuana to the teens.

Miller's attorney, John Russell, said his client is a victim of domestic abuse, which may have played a role in her behavior. Those who know the 40-year-old said the allegations are uncharacteristic of the suburban mom of three, who worked as the village secretary.

"She is a good mom. She's a good person... It's unexplainable," said Stephanie Oberbeck.

Prosecutors say the abuse, which included sexual intercourse, oral sex and fondling, took place at Miller's home between February and June.

"The cooperation and corroboration at this point led to these charges. At this point, we're not sure what more evidence the state has," said John Russell, Miller's attorney.

Russell said police began investigating when one of the alleged victims apologized on the social-networking site facebook to Miller's 13-year-old daughter, who walked in on Miller having sex with one of the boys.

"So that apology had been noticed by some parents which caused the investigation," said Russell.

Lawyer Robert Olson, who is representing Miller in a domestic abuse case against her husband, said she recently separated from her husband, who was physically and mentally abusive. Olson said the sex charges are shocking.

"This is one of the people you'd least expect to do something like that," said Robert Olson, Miller's attorney.

Prior to her arrest, Miller had checked herself into a mental health institution. She is currently being held at Cook County Jail's Cermack Hosptial.

Miller's children - ages 13, 10 and 3 - have been placed with Miller's sister. Because the teenage girl is a witness, a judge denied Miller any contact with the girl.

Miller is being held on a $900,000 bond.

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