Miranda Prather is an American woman who gained national attention in July 1997 after police arrested her for faking a hate crime. A lesbian, Prather was a graduate assistant and president of the campus gay and lesbian support group at Eastern New Mexico University. Until 2016, she worked as the executive director for PublishAmerica.
In July 1997, posters began appearing in various locations on ENMU campus, as well as in a town laundromat, that read: "Are you sick of queers polluting this great land with there [sic] filth? I thought so. Want to do something? Join the Fist of God. With his might, we can ride [sic] the world of there [sic] sickness. Ask around. We'll find you." and "Take us seriously, or we'll begin executing one queer a week following this list." The poster listed eight graduate students and professors, and accused them of being gay or lesbians. Prather's name was at the top of the list. Threatening emails were sent to all on the list.
The following day, Prather reported to Portales police that she had been attacked in her home by two masked assailants, and the investigation began. A surveillance tape obtained from the laundromat where one of the posters first appeared seemed to solve the case: the person placing signs was Prather herself. A search warrant was executed on her home. She was arrested and charged with seven counts of harassment and one charge of tampering with evidence, which she vehemently denied. She claimed that a woman named "Jessica Forrester" who looked just like her and was obsessed with her was the true culprit behind the crimes. Prather claimed Forrester forced her to circulate the posters, and suggested Forrester got plastic surgery to make herself look just like Prather. Police were unable to find anyone by that name or description.
The case went to trial in March 1998 but quickly ended in a mistrial on the second day after Charles Plath, Prather's public defender, announced he could not properly defend her due to a piece of evidence that the police claimed was missing that they produced during the trial.
Shortly before a second trial was about to start, Prather agreed to a plea bargain in which she would plead guilty to three charges of harassment in return for the other four charges being dropped and no jail time. On August 18, 1999, State District Judge Robert C. Brack of Clovis accepted the deal and sentenced Prather to three years probation. The court allowed her to return to Maryland where her parents resided.
Since returning to Maryland, Prather has been the executive director for PublishAmerica. The company describes itself as "a traditional, advance- and royalty-paying book publisher." The company has been described by critics as a print on demand vanity press. Prather has stated that "Nobody has come to us with a true breach of contract. [Claims] have run the gamut of individuals complaining about the prices, the editing or the marketing." Later that year, PA did lose in a breach of contract arbitration hearing to author Philip Dolan.
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- [J.K. Rowling and PublishAmerica's unfulfillable promise http://latimesblogs.latimes.com/jacketcopy/2011/08/jk-rowling-publish-america.html]