Niagara Gazette

Courts

April 22, 2014

Reverend nixes plea deal in sex abuse case

Niagara Gazette —

ALBION — A local pastor accused of sex crimes against children declined a plea deal Monday in Orleans County Court.

Roy Harriger Sr., 70, of Middleport, faces three charges of course of sexual conduct against a child and three charges of incest, in connection with incidents that allegedly took place during 2000-2001 while he was the pastor of a Lyndonville church.

Harriger, now of Community Fellowship Church in Hartland, declined Monday to accept a plea deal involving three counts of first-degree course of sexual conduct, with sentences to run concurrently.

Instead, Harriger's attorney filed a motion relating to the language of the statute under which Harriger was indicted by a grand jury in early Febuary. The attorney also asked Orleans County Judge James Punch to lift an order of protection that directs Harriger to avoid any contact or communication with any child under the age of 18. Punch said no.

"He can go anywhere he wants so long as no kids are present," Punch said. "He can attend church whenever he wants, so long as no children are present. I can foresee it being a problem if he's around children if the allegations here are true."

Punch said he would rule on the defense's motion "soon."

A trial date for Harriger may be set at his next court appearance, which was not announced Monday.

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