Society

Bible College President Charged With Running Forced Labor Camp

| by Sarah Fruchtnicht

The 65-year-old president of Cathedral Bible College in Marion, S.C., was charged with forcing foreign students to work in a labor camp.

Reginald Wayne Miller allegedly made teen students work hard labor for little or no pay for more than 50 hours a week. In exchange they received housing – rooms with no hot water, air-conditioning or heating.

He threatened to revoke their visas if they complained about his methods, according to a federal criminal complaint.

"Students described a pervasive climate of fear in which their legal status as non-immigrant students was in constant jeopardy," an affidavit stated, adding that, “Miller threatened expulsion and therefore termination of their legal presence in the United States for non-compliance with his demands.”

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Miller was arrested at 2 a.m. on Thursday and booked into Florence County Detention Center. His bond was set at $250,000 with the condition that he isn’t allowed to set foot on the school’s Marion campus or have contact with any current or former foreign students.

It is unclear how many students were victimized.

"I don't think we've identified all of the potential victims yet," Carrie Fisher, the assistant U.S. attorney prosecuting the case, told The State. "Our investigation just started this week."

Students told federal investigators that the classes they took at the school “were not real” and that they were actually there just to work on the campus and at Miller’s home.

One student said he was promised $100 a week as part of a work-study program, but was paid $50 per week while he worked nearly 60 hours. Another student said they were paid $50 for 32 hours of work per week.

"Dr. Miller told [the student] if he did not like this work, he could go home or he [Miller] would call the Immigration and Naturalization Service," the affidavit says.

The school, which offers degrees in theology, divinity, Christian counseling and ministry, recently moved to Marion from the former Myrtle Beach Air Force Base, New York Daily News reported.

Sources: The State, New York Daily News