Lockport Union-Sun & Journal Online

November 28, 2013

Pastor facing sex abuse charges

BY JOE OLENICK joe.olenick@lockportjournal.com
Lockport Union-Sun & Journal

Lockport Union-Sun & Journal — Rev. Roy D. Harriger Sr. may have left a trail of as many as 10 victims of sexual abuse across three states and four decades, the New York State Police said Wednesday after troopers arrested the Middleport minister on charges of sexually abusing two children.

Harriger, 70, has been charged with two counts of first-degree course of sexual conduct and four counts of first-degree sodomy, all class B felonies. He has also been charged with two counts of first-degree incest, an E felony. The victims, one boy and one girl, were between the ages of 7 and 9 at the time the incidents occurred.

Currently the pastor of Community Fellowship Church on Johnson Creek Road, Harriger was arrested Wednesday morning at his home, which is adjacent to the church, Lt. Kurt Schmitt said. The hamlet of Johnson Creek is located within the Village of Middleport and the Town of Hartland.

Harriger’s alleged sex crimes occurred between September 2000 and September 2001 in Yates, while he was pastor of Ashwood Wesleyan Church in Lyndonville. In fact, Harriger may have a history of sexual abuse stretching back to the 1970s, with alleged sex crimes in the states of Michigan and Pennsylvania. However, many have passed the statute of limitations, Schmitt said.

State Police said all of the alleged crimes reportedly occurred between 1974 and 2003, involving “close to 10” victims. But only two incidents that reportedly took place in New York are still within the statute of limitations, which is what Harriger has been charged with. That’s because in regard to course of sexual conduct charges, New York state law does not start counting until the alleged victim turns 18, Schmitt said.

Law enforcement agencies in Michigan and Pennsylvania are investigating Harriger.

The investigation into Harriger began when a victim came forward to the New York State Police about two months ago, Schmitt said. And it’s probable that other alleged victims of Harriger still may not have come forward.

“Often in these cases other victims will hear this story and see that we’ve arrested a subject and at that point are willing to come forward,” Schmitt said.

Harriger is married with three sons and two daughters. He has no prior criminal record.

Schmitt said the sentencing range for each sexual conduct and sodomy count is 10 to 25 years, while the incest charges carry a maximum seven-year prison term. Each count refers to a separate incident.

Harriger was arrested by the Albion barracks’ Criminal Investigation Bureau and arraigned in Yates Town Court. He was remanded to the Orleans County Jail in lieu of $250,000 bail and is set to return to court on Tuesday afternoon.

The State Police said that anyone with any information on Harriger, or if they believe they may have been the victim of sexual abuse in this case, should contact the State Police in Albion at (585)589-4244.

The investigation is ongoing

Contact reporter Joe Olenick at 439-9222, ext. 6241 or follow him on Twitter @joeolenick.