Rev. Austin Miles, a chaplain in Northern California is a writer and historian. He is the author of Santa's Surprising Origins, a story that received worldwide circulation and resulted in him being cast in the 2004 Hallmark Christmas Movie titled, Single Santa Seeks Mrs. Claus. He played the mall Santa who magically received the gift of sign language.

This item is under category General.


Wednesday, August 15, 2012

General • Personal-Exclusive to Readers of This Website: Sheriff’s Death

Antioch, California (8/15/12)  Every life consists of friends and foes. Sheriff Warren Rupf, who died on August 9th, was both. He could be tough when he felt an injustice had taken place. And God forbid if you became his target.

Years ago he was misled to believe that I had put all sheriffs in danger by publishing the home address of a deputy. That false allegation was promoted heavily by area newspapers, namely The Contra Costa Times and The Antioch Ledger-Dispatch. They spewed out regular headline stories to help the re-election campaign of District Attorney, Gary Yancey, whom they favored. The campaign was not going smoothly since Yancey lacked the endorsement of law enforcement that he desperately needed to win. This bogus charge against me provided the perfect vehicle for Yancey’s political scheme.

When the charges hit the front pages, Yancey proclaimed in highlighted quotes: “I am so supportive of law enforcement that I will even prosecute a respected minister if he poses any threat to a police officer.” That is what won him the re-election. The lie worked. The news stories were all picked up nationally and were read by people who did NOT know me, and who harshly judged me.

The continuing stories unleashed hatred towards me as well as the loss of two positions, one as a college instructor. Worse still, it took a major toll on my family. The “trial” itself was kangaroo all the way. I was forbidden to speak, not allowed to defend myself, or challenge any “evidence.”  A conviction was necessary to put Yancey back in the D.A.s office.

Sheriff Rupf let it be known that I was his enemy. He subtly but firmly pushed me when we stood together at an event in Concord. He made it clear that if he had the chance, I would be gone.

Later, I wrote a letter to Warren telling him that I forgave him for his actions against me. I sincerely felt that he had indeed been misled even though many in his department knew full well that I was innocent of the charges.

He responded very graciously as an officer and a gentleman. We would later be on a public platform together on three occasions where I was the keynote speaker. We shared comfortable and friendly dialogue. He had become my friend.

When his death was imminent, he sent an email to his friends. He carried it well and did it with class. He was indeed an officer and a gentleman.  Warren passed away on August 9th from Acute Myeloid Leukemia which came quickly and took him quickly.  I plan to quietly attend his funeral tomorrow to pay my sincere respects. Contra Costa County has undergone a great loss with his death.

END NOTE: The Antioch Ledger that seemed to lead the pack in the attacks on an innocent person to gain political advantage, went belly up. Editor Clay Callam who wrote such vicious personal attacks was literally driven out of town. This area knows me well as a totally devoted chaplain who is there to serve anyone at all times. They knew these accusations were false. Thousands of readers cancelled their subscriptions to the Ledger. Advertisers began pulling out and when their biggest account cancelled, that shuttered The Antioch Ledger-Dispatch for good.  Recently someone who was part of the office of The District Attorney during that time, talked with me and acknowledged that I was indeed railroaded. As the late Paul Harvey would say: “Now, stay tuned for the REST of the story.”




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