UConn professor retires before disciplinary proceedings begin

Storrs (AP) - A University of Connecticut music professor who faced being fired amid allegations of misconduct with students and child sexual abuse has retired with a nearly $69,000 annual pension, UConn officials said Wednesday.

Robert Miller, 67, of Mansfield, exercised his right to retire before disciplinary proceedings against him concluded, UConn spokeswoman Stephanie Reitz said.

He first told UConn he wanted to retire on Feb. 28, a day after school officials told him they planned to fire him, she said. He submitted the necessary paperwork weeks later to retire effective April 1, Reitz said.

Miller was suspended last year and hasn't been charged with a crime.

He has not commented publicly on the allegations, and did not return a message seeking comment Wednesday.

Miller first started teaching at UConn in 1982, and was allowed to retire under rules that were in place at that time, Reitz said.

UConn officials were seeking to fire Miller after an independent investigative report released in February noted evidence that he was engaged in misconduct with students and violated school policy, including being naked with students in a hot tub and dancing in his underwear with a student.

The investigation, led by the law firm of former White House counsel Scott Coffina, also said evidence existed to support allegations that Miller inappropriately touched boys who attended Paul Newman's Hole In The Wall Camp for sick children in Ashford, Conn., in the early 1990s, and a middle school student near Falls Church, Va., in 1969.

The statute of limitations has run out to pursue charges related to the Connecticut allegations against Miller but Virginia police have been investigating the 1969 claims.

Coffina's firm concluded that UConn officials, including former fine arts dean David Woods, knew about the allegations against Miller involving children as early as 2003. Woods still works for the school, and UConn officials are trying to fire him for allegedly failing to take appropriate action after learning of the accusations against Miller.

Woods' lawyer, Jacques Parenteau, denies the allegation and said Woods followed all university procedures, including bringing the claims against Miller to top UConn officials. On Tuesday, Woods asked the state claims commissioner for permission to sue the state on allegations including defamation.

UConn released a statement saying it stands by the findings of Coffina's report.

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