A 44-year-old man is denying allegations that he secretly drugged a 17-year-old male employee and performed oral sex on the incapacitated victim at the suspect’s Inwood religious goods supply store four months ago.
Daniel Miller pleaded not guilty to first-degree criminal sexual act on Friday during a bedside arraignment at Nassau University Medical Center in East Meadow.
Nassau County police took Miller to the hospital after he complained of chest pains when he was arrested on Thursday.
Police said Miller, who owns Botanica Inle-Osain on Mott Street, gave the victim a cup containing alcohol mixed with Lorazepam, an anti-anxiety medication, and told him to drink it at 4:30 p.m. on Jan. 3. The victim, who was working his first day at the store, was unaware that he was being drugged.
Miller later “placed his mouth on the victim’s penis and moved his mouth in an attempt to cause the victim to ejaculate,” Special Victims Section detectives wrote in court documents. “The victim told the defendant to stop but was unable to physically stop the defendant due to the victim’s physically helpless state.”
The victim woke up 12 hours later in Miller’s home, which is also in Inwood, police said. Miller then drove the victim home, where he called 911.
Nancy Bartling, the attorney representing Miller, was not immediately available for comment.
“Mr. Miller will vigorously fight the charges in court and denies any wrongdoing,” said Joe Conway, a partner at Bartling’s Mineola-based law firm, LaRusso & Conway LLP.
A judge set bail for Miller at $1 million cash or $2 million bond, which he did not immediately post.
Records show Miller is a twice convicted felon who was paroled in 2007 from Gowonda prison in the Bronx after serving several years for forgery and other charges.
Botanica is a type of alternative medicine retail shop that can commonly be found in Hispanic communities.