A Teenage Wasteland
As a teenager, McMillin was known as a risk taker with a mile-wide sense of entitlement and a bad attitude. One former classmate described the young McMillin as Harry Potter's "Draco Malfoy but without the good looks and a worse personality."
In between his sophomore and junior years, McMillin and two friends were playing "leapfrog," a dangerous driving "game" where participants speed down the road and attempt to keep passing each other while braving oncoming traffic. McMillin's opponent, Dennis Walter, wasn't able to complete one pass and struck another car head on.
The accident killed Tom Marsh instantly, but his pregnant wife, Diana, survived long enough to give birth to a stillborn baby girl before dying the next day. No charges were ever filed against McMillin despite his obvious culpability in the case.
After he graduated high school in 1995, McMillin left to attend Ball State University. You won't find Ball State listed in his official biography though, because McMillin left the school in the spring of 1996 after members of the baseball team accused him of stealing from the parking lot fees. No charges were filed and McMillin was quietly allowed to leave the university.
His legislative bio conveniently leaves out his Ball State attendance in favor of his degree in Economics from the University of Cincinnati - a school much closer to home and where his father's influence was stronger. After graduation, McMillin got his law degree at the University of Mississippi and returned to the area to find a job.
He eventually became a deputy prosecutor in Dayton, Ohio - a mid-sized city not far from the Indiana border. Luckily for him, his family wasn't too far away; he'd need their help again when he resigned after a sex scandal rocked the burg.
In March of 2005, John Gonzalez reportedly broke into his girlfriend's apartment and in late April a grand jury charged him with burglary, aggravated burglary with a firearm, and misdemeanor domestic violence. McMillin was assigned to the case.
He met with the injured party, Crystal Stapleton, and according to Stapleton began flirting with her during the victim interview. According to a complaint affidavit filed with the court [pdf], Stapleton alleges that McMillin summoned her repeatedly to his office for multiple interviews about the case.
"I remember [during] one of these meetings, Judson McMillin winked at me, which I took to be flirting," Stapleton said.
Stapleton repeatedly told McMillin that she had given Gonzalez a key to her residence and Gonzalez hadn't forced his way into the apartment. She didn't testify at the grand jury hearing and told McMillin several times that she didn't want charges pursued against Gonzalez.
Later that summer, McMillin showed up drunk at Stapleton's apartment to declare his romantic intentions. He was still assigned to her case as the deputy prosecutor.
"He told me that he had been drinking, that he wanted to come over and see me," Stapleton said. "He did come over to see me, and he told me that he would hug me except he was worried that an investigator might be watching as he came to my house."
According to Stapleton, McMillin repeatedly insisted that she would have to testify against Gonzalez and that he would send Gonzalez to jail for "a long time." McMillin threatened Stapelton with arrest as a witness until she cooperated and testified against Gonzalez. The Montgomery County prosecutor's office does not have a policy of arresting reluctant witnesses and routinely drops cases when a victim does not wish to press charges.
McMillin, blinded by his lust for Stapleton, wanted Gonzalez out of the picture and forged ahead with the charges despite Stapleton's protests.
Sexting: A Relationship Blooms
In August of 2005, Stapleton and Gonzalez moved to Toledo, Ohio. After constant wooing by McMillin, Stapleton returned to Dayton in early September. McMillin was still filing official paperwork with the court on September 2nd, but removed himself from the case shortly after Stapleton returned to Dayton and it appeared there was a chance of a relationship with the victim.
Shortly after Stapleton returned to Dayton, McMillin and Stapleton went on their first date. They went to a state park in a nearby county where a law enforcement source, who asked not to be identified since they aren't allowed to speak officially for the department, said they were caught having sex in McMillin's car. After discovering McMillin was a deputy prosecutor in the neighboring county, police let him go with a warning.
In an affidavit filed in Gonzalez's criminal case, Stapleton tells the story a little differently.
"We went to John Bryant [sic] State Park, we rented a movie and we returned to his apartment where we had sexual relations. For approximately two weeks after September 11, 2005, I was with Judson McMillin almost on a daily basis and we continued our sexual relationship during this period of time," she said.
"While I was with Judson McMillin during this period of time, he made statements about us being together when this was all over, meaning the charges against John C. Gonzalez, he made me believe that perhaps he would adopt my children... and he also said we would grow old together. He mentioned marrying me and having children," she continued.
"He would always say very nice things to me and I was also very happy when he called. He also took me to his parents' house in Indiana around this time and he introduced me to his friends... I also met the prosecutor at a mall in Cincinnati."
Shortly after the date McMillin and Stapelton started sexting - sending sexually provocative text messages to each other along with sexually explicit photos.
"McMillin began to text message me on my phone and send me photographs of himself which he took with his cell phone and sent to my cell phone," Stapleton testified. "The photographs he sent to me were sexual in nature as were my photographs."
Gonzalez's attorney, Jeffrey Slyman, submitted the photos and text messages into evidence with Stapleton's affidavit, but Slyman quickly suggested the court seal the exhibits [pdf] as "highly provocative and sexually explicit." Since Montgomery County court files are able to be viewed on the internet, the court decided that Slyman's recommendation to seal the photos and texts was "well-taken."
In a phone call Slyman's office, he refused to comment on the old case, but his assistant confirmed that Slyman had filed the affidavit with numerous provocative photos of both McMillin and Stapleton.
According to two sources close to the case, the photos were incredibly graphic. One photo reportedly shows McMillin masturbating and using a dildo on himself while others were simply of McMillin's genitalia. In one exchange, McMillin is alleged to have texted Stapleton that he was heartsick being separated from her and sent photos of himself masturbating with a string tied tightly from his testicles to the wheels of a rolling office chair to illustrate his pain.
Since the photos and texts were filed under seal and McMillin refuses to release them, there is no way to confirm or deny the photos' contents beyond what's blatantly spelled out in court filings.
After word leaked back to McMillin's boss about the incident in the state park and he confessed to starting a relationship with a victim he was supposed to be protecting, law enforcement sources in Montgomery County say McMillin resigned to prevent being fired. He left his job on September 16, 2005 - days after starting his illicit affair with another man's girlfriend.
Stapleton Sues McMillin for Damages
Stapleton and McMillin ended their relationship soon after her affidavit was filed (with the pornographic text messages and photos submitted as evidence) in Gonzalez's criminal case.
A year later - and after Gonzalez's court case had been resolved - Stapleton sued McMillin in civil court for $25,000 [pdf] for legal malpractice, intentional infliction of emotional distress, and breach of fiduciary duty. In papers filed with the suit, her attorney alleged that "McMillin repeatedly contacted Stapleton in the guise of his role as prosecutor, while, in fact, pursuing a romantic relationship."
"McMillin made inappropriate personal contact with Stapleton which culminated in a sexual relationship," the filing continued. "McMillin exploited his position as prosecutor in connection with Stapleton's as a victim and unwilling witness in a prosecution."
While McMillin initially denied the affair entirely in papers filed in response to Stapleton's suit, he later admitted the relationship to the Dayton Daily News.
A former assistant Montgomery County prosecutor admitted Friday he had a relationship with the complainant in a domestic violence case he prosecuted, but he insisted the relationship began after he stepped off the case Sept. 9.
Judson G. McMillin, 28, resigned from the prosecutor's office Sept. 16, his personnel records show.
He said he now practices in his father's firm in Brookville [Indiana].
In mid-January of 2007, Stapleton withdrew her complaint [pdf]. It's unclear whether or not McMillin paid Stapleton for her silence, but McMillin denies he did. Stapleton's motion to dismiss includes her right to file the case again in the future, so it would appear that the two did not reach a financial settlement or the motion would likely have included a stipulation that the case couldn't be refiled at a later date.
After McMillin's sexual impropriety came to light during the last election, he sent a written statement to a local radio station that read in part, "If some say dating a woman I had met through my work was not the best decision, I will not argue with them."
"I have never had any disciplinary actions taken against me in my professional career, and the creative and completely fabricated lawsuit that was filed against me... was quickly dismissed when my resolve to fully defend and not to be strong-armed into any settlement was understood," McMillin said.
The Ohio Bar Association decided there was no ethical violation on McMillin's part because he resigned from the prosecutor's office before consummating the relationship.
McMillin did not mention the sexually explicit photos or confirm the contents of the photos and texts filed under court seal in his brief statement, but he did acknowledge that contrary to what he'd said in his original court filings, he did, in fact, have a sexual relationship with a woman he was supposed to be advocating for in a domestic violence case.
Morality Is Messy
These days, Jud McMillin is a rising Republican star. He sits on the Courts and Criminal Code committee, the Roads and Transportation committee, and is vice chair of the Judiciary committee that oversaw passage of a constitutional ban on same-sex marriage, civil unions, and domestic partner benefits. McMillin voted in favor of the marriage discrimination amendment twice - once in committee and again on the floor of the House.
The amendment passed overwhelmingly in February with bipartisan support. Same-sex marriage is already illegal in Indiana. A previous court case challenging the law was initiated by the ACLU-Indiana, but the state's law was upheld. Marriage equality isn't coming any time soon to the Hoosier state's gay and lesbian citizens.
Even though a constitutional amendment is unnecessary since a court has upheld the law's constitutional authority, McMillin placed more importance on the amendment's passage than fighting to improve living standards in his poverty-stricken district. Clearly his priorities are a bit skewed.
On his campaign website, he listed marriage discrimination as one of his top issues.
"I will protect the integrity of the institution of marriage. I believe that a marriage is a union of a man and a woman before their peers, government, and most importantly, God. In southeastern Indiana the family has always been the foundation of our strength of community," he said. "Our relationships with our wives, husbands, parents, children, siblings and other loved ones provides the glue that binds our common purpose. In these times of turmoil the rest of the country could learn something from our example."
If Hoosiers want to learn something from McMillin's example, they should discover that when you want to dictate morality, you'd better have some outstanding morals of your own.
Calls to McMillin's legislative office for comment were not returned. Photos via Flickr and McMillin's legislative website.