Harriger jailed after bondsman rescinds $250K bond

By Tom Rivers, Editor Posted 27 January 2015 at 6:25 pm

Roy Harriger

ALBION – Roy Harriger was jailed at about 5 p.m. today after his bondsman rescinded a bond for $250,000.

Harriger, 71, was convicted of child molestation on Monday by a jury in Orleans County Court. He could face up to 25 years or more in state prison when he is sentenced on April 6.

District Attorney Joe Cardone asked in court after the verdict was read that Harriger’s bond be rescinded and he be put in jail until the sentencing. Judge James Punch permitted Harriger to stay free on bail until April 6.

Harriger’s two sons, Robert and George Harriger, were upset with the judge’s decision. Both sons testified they had been abused by their father when they were children. Three of Harriger’s grandchildren also testified they were abused by their grandfather, a prominent local pastor.

“He has every reason to run or to hurt someone or himself,” Cardone said at about 5:45 p.m. today. “At this point you have a 71-year-old man convicted of D felonies, which is potentially a death sentence at his age as a convicted perpetrator.”

The bondsman for Harriger rescinded the bond. Cardone didn’t know if the bondsman terminated the bond or if someone else, who had pledged their property and assets to secure the bond, requested the bond be terminated.

Harriger was pastor at Ashwood Wesleyan Church in Lyndonville in 2000 and 2001 when he allegedly abused three of his grandchildren. The jury on Monday afternoon gave a unanimous decision, finding Harriger guilty on two out of three counts of course of sexual conduct, meaning the abuse lasted more than 3 months.

In 2009, Harriger helped establish Community Fellowship Church in Hartland. Many of the church members there were part of Ashwood. Harriger left that church after a disagreement with denomination leaders.

About 100 to 125 people who attend Community Fellowship, which has two services. Judge Punch ruled last year that Harriger could not attend church with children in the building. That prompted the church to hold two different services.

Before he was arrested in November 2013, Harriger was frequently invited to give the invocation before Orleans County Legislature meetings. The Legislature would invite local pastors to give the opening prayers.