Bil Browning

Indiana's Jud McMillin: A Tale of Glass Houses & Rocks

Filed By Bil Browning | March 02, 2011 6:00 PM | comments

Filed in: Marriage Equality, Politics
Tags: Crystal Stapleton, Dayton, family values, Jud McMillin, Judson McMillin, Ohio, sexual abuse

Indiana Republican state representative Judson (Jud) McMillin is a man with a secret past.

jud-mcmillin.jpgThe young freshmen legislator, who represents a southern Indiana district on the Ohio border, grew up in the area and when he's not climbing on his moral high horse to vilify gay and lesbian relationships, he represents businesses at his family law practice - a firm that has more than once helped hide his many brushes with the law.

While it's easy for small town lawyers to sweep secrets under the rug, you can't keep everything hidden forever - especially when the past includes petty theft allegations, vehicular homicide, and resigning from a job after a sex scandal.

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" brookville.jpgwhere 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.

Prosecutorial Misconduct

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.

prosecutor"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 Siren Sexting Sailors, after Edward Armitagewhen 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 legal1.jpgmalpractice, 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

Jud-McMillin-legislator.jpg

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.

McMillin doesn't.

Calls to McMillin's legislative office for comment were not returned. Photos via Flickr and McMillin's legislative website.


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This would be funny if it weren't so sad. He sounds like a blot on the escutcheon of the bar, and I have no doubt there will be Republicans boo-hooing into their hankies about how this fine young man should be allowed to restart his life despite his minor youthful indiscretions.

Gosh, another trustfund baby who beleives that they can do no wrong and who will do anything because they can. Who views themselves as the morality police while having no morals.
(sarcasam alert)
Just what we need right now.

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.

Next task: Getting those photos.

According to my source in the clerk's office those sealed exhibits are miraculously missing from all the court papers. Everything is there - except the text messages and photos.

Bill,

Bravo for a great take down of a real sleaze bag. Those who would set themselves up as the judges of morality had better be totally clean and scandal free themselves. Obviously, that standard doesn't apply to McMillin. Sadly, he is all too typical of the hypocrites in the GOP.

I look forward to the next jerk you expose. If these people want to make our lives and loves a public issue, then they'd better be ready to have their own examined under a microscope.

Michael

Jesus. I grew up in Clark County, Ohio (where John Bryan State Park is) and now live in Montgomery. I could practically take you on a tour of Jud McMilin's favorite indiscretion hangouts.

One thing: does "using a dildo on himself" mean what I think it means?

What else would it mean?

Brad Bailey | March 2, 2011 11:14 PM

GO BIL BROWNING!

yet he is still in office, which mean none of this is any good..

none is too shocking, none of it will help to get this guy throw out or to step down..

it just make you look like a bully.

none of it is really helping our cause as well.

DennisNYC | March 3, 2011 5:11 AM

Party Pooper!


yet he is still in office, which mean none of this is any good.

Bil posted at 6pm, you commented at 11:14pm. Give the guy more than five hours, 14 minutes to react.

The point isn't making Bil look like a great person, nor is it to get this guy out of office (because he'd just be replaced by another person like him). The point is half revenge, half deterrence.

And, if anything, I think the guy who threatens to arrest a woman he wants to fuck for not helping him advance his career looks like the bully here.

Bravo, Bil! Now, can you get this in the Indiana newspapers...and maybe the Washington Post and the New York Times?

Were you able to contact Crystal Stapleton? I would imagine she might "accidentally" cause those photos to mysteriously appear. She is bound to have some gay friend or relative for whom she feels a bond strong enough to want to help with equality. I'd go through her friends list on FB, spot the queers and approach through them. I bet some of them already have the photos.

Marla R. Stevens | March 3, 2011 8:05 AM

You might have a point if there was something at risk here except the assumption that we are too polite to mount a fight with teeth. Exactly how much worse than a constitutional amendment (the sole purpose of which is to extend hatred of us long past the time when a substantial majority do not condone it) are you imagining it can it get -- or are you just having a meaningless knee-jerk response? Bil is risking zip here.
@Bil: Bravo!

AWESOME! I will cross post this to my blog at bjlincoln.blogspot.com so that my friends and family in Ohio will read it.
Take them all down! Thanks

John Gagon | March 3, 2011 8:17 AM

The public at large needs to know this. Its not just hypocrisy, it's scary. I don't think this is bullying. He is in public office. He deserves the scrutiny of any public official. It's the standard. I really wonder what happened there on that vehicular homicide case.

I really wish it would take him down, but you all know the old adage: dead girl or live boy. That's the only thing that axes a Republican. If this guy were a Democrat, he'd already be gone.

How can we spread this story all around? I think the people of the state and further deserve to know more about this man. Here is what I sent to his office via his website contact: "How interesting to read about your background on Bilerico in light of your discriminatory vote about marriage equality. You are not one to talk about morality and should have to explain some of the horrible things you have done in the past. That you are even voted into office is an offense to human deceny yet you have the nerve to vote against gay people having equal rights. You remind me why I do not like most Repbublicans. I hope this story gets lots of attention."

And to SNT above, why would you even worry if it makes Bil look like a bully? It does not. It makes him look like someone interested in exposing the truth. The bullies are those who try to deprive us of equality.

I cannot say I am surprised he was allowed to resign from the Montgomery County DA's office. I lived in Montgomery County for most of my life and the DA's office is very much a who you know office. As long as you know the right people you can get away with anything.

And he'll probably still be re-elected.

David Myers | March 3, 2011 11:55 AM

Is this all you can dig up? You are going to have to do a lot better then this. This is the past.

What happened in the past is often a very good indication of what will happen in the future. Someone who did these things should not be holding himself up as a guardian of morality. And the people who voted for him ought to be made aware of just who it is that they placed in office, behind the pretty facade.

My guess is that his district in Indiana will forgive him of just about anything, unless the butt plug was BLACK. The inter-racial suggestion would likely doom him.

Ca-CHING Bil! Thank you and I look forward to more on ole Jud and his pals.

Keep digging and making them scream.

Has any of the main stream media ( Indianapolis) picked up your story?

Tony Soprano | March 3, 2011 10:55 PM

Bil -

You should also PUBLISH THE HOME ADDRESSES (which is public knowledge, in the public domain) of these low-lifes (as I wrote previously).

Bilerico's own reader comments support this view:

> we are too polite to mount a fight with teeth - Marla R. Stevens

> Is this all you can dig up? You are going to have to do a lot better then this - David Myers

> Keep digging and making them scream - Rob Barton

Good going, Bil.

Somehow, it seems that the biggest of bigots have some of the most unseemly pasts -- and presents. Good luck in tracking down a few more pseudo-Christian malefactors!

john demilio | March 4, 2011 1:51 PM

Bil,
a wonderful piece and expose. is this information very public? it should be. the guy deserves to be gone after. and, at the very least, his district should be blanketed with the information. of course, having it come from a gay source might make his constituents love him more.

Great reporting but big deal. He's still a legislator and still sets discrimination against GLBT citizens as one of his main objectives..

Where's the ethic claim against him?