Harriger offered plea with 25-year max in state prison

By Tom Rivers, Editor Posted 25 February 2014 at 12:00 am

ALBION – A pastor accused of sex crimes against children was offered a plea deal in Orleans County Court on Monday that would carry a maximum sentence of 25 years in state prison.

Roy Harriger, the pastor of the Community Fellowship Church in the town of Hartland, faces six counts of sex abuse charges. He has pleaded not guilty.

Harriger, 70,  of Middleport was charged in November with three counts of coarse sexual contact in the first degree and three counts of incest. District Attorney Joe Cardone presented a plea for Harriger to plead guilty to the three counts of coarse sexual contact. Cardone said he wouldn’t pursue the incest charges.

The coarse sexual contact charges carry a minimum of five years and a maximum of 25 years in state prison. The sentence for the three counts would run at the same time, according to the plea offer from the DA.

Harriger is represented by attorney Larry Koss. Harriger did not accept the offer in court on Monday. He has until April 7 to decide. That is his next court appearance. He can accept the plea offer or the case will go to trial.

Judge James Punch has ordered Harriger to stay away from church and any other locations where there are children 18 or younger.

Harriger was first arraigned in the Yates Town Court on Nov. 27 after being charged by the state police. He posted $250,000 bail. Punch has kept the bail at $250,000.

The alleged crimes by Harriger occurred against three family members between September 2000 and September 2001, when he was pastor of the Ashwood Wesleyan Church in Lyndonville.

“Witnesses can’t say exactly when they happened, but there were multiple offenses with multiple victims,” Cardone said in court on Monday.