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Corvallis detective sets up online persona as a girl to nab St. Helens Kevin Miller

by: COURTESY PHOTO - MillerA St. Helens man was arrested in Corvallis on Monday, Dec. 16, on allegations he drove to the Benton County city to commit sex crimes.

Kevin Miller, 34, was booked in the Benton County Jail after driving to Corvallis allegedly to meet and have sexual contact with a person he thought was a 14-year-old girl he had met online. After arriving at a Super 8 hotel parking lot, Miller discovered that the girl he supposedly intended to meet was actually Bryan Rhenberg, a Corvallis Police Department detective who had set up a fictitious online persona of a teenage girl.

Rhenberg found a pack of condoms, cash and a knife on the suspect, as well as a Beretta 40mm handgun loaded with a bullet in the chamber in his vehicle. According to an affidavit of probable cause, Miller possessed a valid license to carry a concealed handgun.

Initially, Miller waited in the parking lot for his intended visitor. When he began to drive away, Corvallis police pulled him over and Rhenberg detained him, identifying him by pictures Miller had sent to Rhenberg’s fictitious online persona.

Although Miller admitted to police he had communicated with and sent nude photographs of himself to who he believed was a girl for months, he pleaded not guilty in Benton County Circuit Court on Tuesday, Dec. 17, to one count of first-degree online sexual corruption of a child and one count of second-degree online sexual corruption of a child.

“During numerous chat conversations, Kevin [Miller] was persistent on getting nude pictures of who he believed to be a 14-year-old girl,” Rhenberg wrote in the affidavit of probable cause. “Kevin [Miller] also repeatedly told me to delete all the messages so no one would know we were communicating.”

Eventually, Miller arranged to meet Rhenberg’s fictitious persona, giving specific instructions of what he wanted the alleged victim to wear.

“Kevin [Miller] said he would take the girl somewhere in the woods after meeting her,” Rhenberg wrote in the affidavit.

“Our detective unit pays attention to social media sites and looks out for people who are trying to exploit children,” said Capt. Dave Henslee, of the Corvallis Police Department. “When we are contacted by people who are trying to take advantage of youth in our community, we pursue an investigation.”

Miller remains in the Benton County Jail on $150,000 bail.

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