Arabnews24.ca:Saturday 11 February 2023 08:30 AM: WARNING: This story contains graphic content some readers may find disturbing.
Another witness and another alleged victim have come forward after the broadcast of allegations that Montreal businessman Robert G. Miller paid underage girls for sex between 1994 and 2006 to share the experiences they say they had with the billionaire.
Miller vigorously denies the allegations reported in the investigation by Radio-Canada's Enquête and CBC's The Fifth Estate.
Two new women, who say their encounters with Miller occurred while they were still minors, agreed to be interviewed.
Julie Dagenais, who met the billionaire when she was 17 in 2007, did not sleep with Miller.
Geneviève, who asked us to protect her identity for fear of reprisal, lived a very different story.
The two women, who do not know each other, both reached out to Montreal police.
Geneviève says she knew this day would come. She just didn't know when. Last Friday, working from home, she checked the news feed on her phone and was stunned by what she saw.
"I was scrolling through the news. Then I saw the title of the report and my heart immediately ached. I started listening to it on my phone, I was really upset."
She had come across the CBC/Radio Canada report about Miller, and allegations that he paid teenage girls for sex between 1994 and 2006.
Miller denies this, but Genevieve says she was one of those girls.
"Then afterwards, I wrote you an email and looked for where I could go to file a complaint with the police. I was waiting for it, for that moment."
Geneviève says she had multiple sexual encounters with Miller, or Bob, as he was known to her and others, between 2000 and 2003.
She says Miller paid her for those encounters, that they began when she was 14 years old and that almost all ot them took place at the Queen Elizabeth Hotel in Montreal.
Geneviève says Miller often welcomed two girls at a time, and that in these circumstances she often played the role of hostess. "I was the one who prepared the drinks for everyone. When it was bath time, I would go and set them up while Bob talked with my friend.
"And then I'd go over and take care of him to protect my friends. I was kind of doing the dirty work."
She says Miller paid her $1,500 for sex, sometimes giving her a box of CDs and Victoria's Secret clothes she'd picked from a catalogue during the previous encounter.
"It was a trick to get us to go back to him because we wanted to get [the things] we picked out. As it went on, the gifts got bigger and more expensive," she says.
She still remembers the red Nokia phone that Miller gave her, "just like the ones in the Charlie's Angels movie."
Geneviève comes from a modest background, and he knew how to tap into that, she says.
"He would ask us what we were dreaming of. I had crooked teeth at the time, and my mother couldn't afford braces. Then he'd say that was the kind of thing he could afford for me."
She says the billionaire didn't keep that promise.
Geneviève stopped seeing Miller just before she turned 18, at the request of a jealous boyfriend.
She says this period of her life has forever changed her relationship with money. "Money still disgusts me. It can hurt, it can destroy. It can buy silence."
She remembers her first "regular" job at a deli, paying $7.45 an hour. "You had to wear a lab coat, I was cutting meat. I thought of it as degrading, but ultimately it was the other thing that was degrading."
Life after Robert Miller
It was an unexpected pregnancy at the age of 19 that led Geneviève to turn her life around. She went back to school, got a university degree and now works as a professional in the field of counselling.
In 2010, she discovered Bob's true identity by chance when she came across Miller's photo in a Journal de Montréal article about the acrimonious divorce between the billionaire and his wife Margaret Antonier. It talked about allegations of "misconduct" and "horrific wrongdoing."
"I realized it was him and that he had lied about his name.... I had seen that there were possible allegations, but it didn't say anything about a police investigation, because I think I would have already gone to the police."
That same year, Montreal police closed an investigation into Miller and his alleged accomplices. No charges were laid.
Since then, Geneviève has been waiting.
"Every new person, every MeToo, every whistleblower, I'd go Google Robert Miller's name to see if anything came up," she says. "That was the first thing I did. I was waiting for that moment."
But when "that moment" came last Friday, it sent shockwaves.
"I realised that even though I thought I had moved on, it had affected my life more than I thought."
The questions piled up in Geneviève's mind. "How many of us are there? Why didn't anything ever come of the investigations? Why did he always get away with it?"
After speaking with Radio-Canada, Geneviève headed straight to a Montreal police precinct to file a complaint against Miller.
She says the police officer who met with her congratulated her for her courage. The next day, a specialised investigator called her back to make an appointment.
"He reassured me that even though we had recruited other girls, [the police] were not planning to charge us. I think they're going to make it easier to file a criminal complaint."
Geneviève hopes other women will come forward with their own stories.
"I hope that even the girls that I roped into this will want to [contact police]. I think that together, we are stronger."
'I remembered his sparkling white smile'
Julie Dagenais was shocked when she saw Miller's picture on the CBC website.
For years, she had been trying to remember the name of the older businessman who had offered her money for sex while she was still a minor.
"I used to try to walk the streets of Westmount trying to find the house," she said. "I remembered, I remembered his sparkling white smile."
Now she knows the man with the sparkling smile was the billionaire businessman Miller.
Five years ago, Dagenais says, she began watching a Quebec television series called Fugueuse, about a teen runaway exploited for sex. Parts of the narrative echoed her own experience, she says, and she felt compelled to write about it.
Her piece was published on popular francophone website Urbania in February 2018. It recounts a cunning recruitment scheme orchestrated by an older co-worker who took her to an opulent Montreal house to meet a rich businessman. There, the older man showered her with compliments, promises and gifts. She says she was saved just in time by the vigilance of her friends and family.
Scrolling through the CBC/Radio-Canada investigation on Miller brought her right back to this moment.
"It's really him, it's really the house," she said. "I was very emotional because I never thought that story would become public."
WATCH | The girls around Robert G. Miller:
The Girls Around Robert G. Miller
Dagenais's encounter with the man she knew only as Bob dates back to 2007. Back then, the 17-year-old was working a minimum wage job at a Sears store on Montreal's south shore.
She had become friends with one of her colleagues, a woman in her early 20s who seemed to have everything going for her.
"She had a car, a lot of jewellery and carried a lot of designer handbags, too," Dagenais says.
Dagenais, who says she had incredibly low self-esteem at the time, began to emulate her glamorous new work friend.
Eventually, the teen discovered her colleague had another job. "She was a personal assistant to a very accomplished, very busy businessman," Dagenais says. "She was in charge of managing his calendar, his appointments."
Gradually, over several months, her friend revealed the details of her work for this businessman, named Bob. She confided in Dagenais that one of her friends sometimes had sex with Bob, and that in return, he offered her financial support and helped her build her business.
Dagenais says she was intrigued by the prospect of making some money on the side.
"I thought to myself at one point, well, the man seems nice, but more importantly, my bond of trust [with her] has become so strong that I'm going to offer to do this with the man, I'll have sex with him."
At first, her colleague refused, but then she relented: "She told me: 'I told Bob about you, I showed him pictures of you and he says he is going to try to make room in his schedule to meet with you'," Dagenais says.
A few days later, she was in her colleague's car, on her way to meet Bob in Montreal.
She remembers pulling into the driveway of a large house in the affluent Westmount neighbourhood.
Miller was standing in front of the garage, waiting for them. "I remember that his smile was absolutely dazzling," says Dagenais. "His skin was very tan and his hair was dyed."
Dagenais says Miller invited her to sit in the living room, where he began to ask her questions.
She remembers telling him what her plans were, once she had graduated from high school.
"I never said: 'By the way, I'm 17,'" Dagenais says. "But my age was implied."
In Quebec, public high schools only go to Grade 11, where students are typically 16 or 17.
The billionaire listened attentively, bouncing off her post-secondary ambitions and suggesting she should instead aim to study in Europe or Florida. She says he suggested he could help her.
"Then he left, and returned with four boxes of shoes," she says. "Brands like Diesel and Miss Sixty that were really cool at the time, and that I could never afford with my Sears salary."
By accepting these gifts, she felt she had made a deal.
"He was saying, 'The next time we see each other, we're going to go further,'" she says. The billionaire also allegedly told her that he was "clean" and that he regularly got tested for sexually transmitted diseases, so the sex would be condom-free.
"He saw that I was very nice, and very vulnerable."
Dagenais says she agreed to another meeting, "where things would go further," and her colleague took her home.
But that next meeting never took place. Dagenais says her friends disapproved of this idea, and that she eventually told her parents about the encounter. Outraged, they went to confront her colleague and gave her back the boxes of shoes.
Dagenais never spoke to her again.
Today, Dagenais considers it was a close call. "It really can happen to anyone," she says.
Still, she says, the encounter affected her deeply, and for a long time. "It left me with a lot of baggage," Dagenais says. "It took a long time for me to respect myself."
Publishing her story in 2018 was part of her healing process. "Today, I feel much stronger, much more switched on, much more thoughtful."
She hopes her story will encourage others to share their stories.
Calls to police
Dagenais also contacted Montreal police to share her story. Over the phone, she says, an officer told her that they had received many other calls about this case and that an investigator would contact her.
Montreal police investigated the Miller case in 2009, but no charges were laid.
After the broadcast of the Radio-Canada/CBC story, however, both the police and Quebec's crown prosecutor's office issued a call for witnesses and said that any new information could lead to the relaunch of the investigation.
Contacted by Radio-Canada, Montreal police were not able to confirm the reopening of the file, citing confidentiality reasons.
But sources say police have received several other complaints about Miller.
Radio-Canada contacted Miller's lawyer to ask for comment on these new allegations. The response came by way of a public relations representative, who said that Miller maintains that these stories are false.
In his email, public relations officer Jean Maurice Duddin said that the allegations are "motivated, encouraged and supported behind the scenes by [Miller's] ex-wife, strictly for financial gain."
He added that it was the public unveiling of Miller's wealth that brought new "alleged" victims out of the woodwork.
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