San Juan Island man sentenced to prison for sexual exploitation of a minor

Note: This story contains details of sexual assault.

Tanner John Miller, 26, of Friday Harbor has been sentenced to 46 months in prison for two counts of sexual exploitation of a minor. After his release, he will be in community custody for three years and must register as a sex offender.

Miller was accused of sexually assaulting a teenager and charged in August 2023 with rape in the second degree — incapable of consent; rape in the third degree — no consent; and possessing depictions of a minor engaged in sexually explicit conduct. He initially pleaded not guilty. In February 2024, he changed his plea to guilty and signed a plea deal.

The standard sentencing range is 46-61 months for sexual exploitation of a minor. After the Department of Corrections conducted pre-sentencing interviews with the defendant, victim and law enforcement, it supported the state’s standard sentencing and recommended Miller obtain chemical dependency, mental health and psycho-sexual evaluations and comply with recommended service; pay all legal financial obligations determined by the court; have no contact with the victim for 10 years; and register as a sex offender.

According to the DOC, Miller submitted the following: “Instead of making a statement, I agree that the court may review the police reports and/or a statement of probable cause supplied by the prosecution to establish a factual basis for the plea.”

The DOC spoke by video conference with the victim about the impacts of the crime on her life. She has been participating in weekly counseling and is on antidepressants and antipsychotic medication to manage her stress, anxiety and depression. According to the report, the victim “missed a significant amount of school, which she believes is directly related to the case. She described prior enjoyment for school and friends, but after reporting the assaults felt isolated and depressed. She said rumors were being spread at school which resulted in her ‘losing her friends’ and ‘checking out.’ She noted thoughts of suicide during this time and mentioned self-harm occurrences.”

When asked if she’d like to say anything to Miller, the victim stated, “I wish you could understand just how wrong it was. I was 16 years old, and you treated me as a doll. The trauma, abuse, and shame you inflicted will take longer than your sentence. Even if you thought you loved me. It was wrong.”

Details of the case

In early August 2023, a teenage girl reported to juvenile court services that Miller allegedly gave her alcohol and had sex with her while she was unable to provide consent on multiple occasions between February and May 2023.

The victim told Detective Rodney Nawn that the first occurrence was in late February when Miller “showed up” at a party on San Juan where there were underage girls and boys. The victim stated she had been drinking heavily and was unable to stop Miller when he began having sex with her. Another girl put a pillow over the victim’s face when she started speaking during the assault.

According to the victim’s statement, the next day Miller invited a group of underage girls to his residence, where he gave them alcohol. The victim alleges he had non-consensual sex with her and another girl. In early March, Miller invited the victim and other underage girls to Orcas. During that time, he supplied alcohol to them and had sex with the victim while she was “blackout drunk.” She reported another incident on San Juan where she got alcohol poisoning, stayed at Miller’s home and woke up to him raping her. The victim says the last incident was in May when the two had sex that was initially consensual but became non-consensual.

In mid-August, Nawn was granted a consent order to record a phone call between Miller and the victim. In the recording, she asked Miller about explicit photos and videos of her on his phone. He stated they had been deleted. The victim asked about their previous sexual encounters, stating she “does not want this to happen to other girls.” Miller said, “The underage thing has been an issue for me” and assured the victim she was “going to be the last.”

Detective Nawn obtained a search warrant for Miller’s phone. He found an explicit video of the victim in Miller’s Snapchat account. On Aug. 30, detectives and deputies served a search warrant on Miller’s home and arrested him.

Miller’s previous convictions in San Juan County include indecent exposure and two counts of assault in the fourth degree