A judge Tuesday sentenced a La Crosse sex offender to life in prison without the possibility of release after a jury convicted him of molesting an 11-year-old boy.

The panel convicted Sheldon Miller, who twice served time for assaulting boys, of first-degree child sexual assault as a persistent repeat offender after deliberating about 40 minutes Tuesday in La Crosse County Circuit Court.

The life sentence, imposed by Circuit Judge Ramona Gonzalez, was mandatory because of his prior convictions.

The child said Miller molested him multiple times in August 2014 at his La Crosse apartment, according to the complaint.

Miller was paroled in 1987 after serving three years for having sexual contact with an 8-year-old boy, according to Tribune files.

A judge sent him to prison for 12 years in 1991 after he was convicted in a case in which he was charged with molesting two boys, ages 10 and 13, while babysitting.

Miller, 59, entered an Alford plea in October to a reduced charge that carried a maximum 40-year prison sentence. The plea meant he admitted no wrongdoing but conceded a jury likely would convict him.

Gonzalez later allowed Miller, who maintained his innocence, to withdraw his plea because he lost confidence in his attorney.

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Anne Jungen covers law enforcement and the criminal justice system in La Crosse County. She joined the Tribune reporting staff in December 2005. You can contact her directly at ajungen@lacrossetribune.com or 608-791-8224.

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