Harriger will be sentenced today for child molestation crimes

By Tom Rivers, Editor Posted 6 April 2015 at 12:00 am

Photo by Tom Rivers – Roy Harriger gets in a vehicle after leaving the courthouse on Jan. 26 when he was found guilty of child molestation.

ALBION – A pastor who was convicted of molesting his grandchildren will be sentenced today at 2 p.m. and could face 25 years or more in state prison.

Roy Harriger, 71, was pastor at Ashwood Wesleyan Church in Lyndonville in 2000 and 2001 when he allegedly abused three of his grandchildren. A jury gave a unanimous verdict on Jan. 26, finding Harriger guilty on two out of three counts of course of sexual conduct, meaning the abuse lasted more than 3 months. Harriger could be sentenced to up to 25 years on each of the two counts.

Harriger’s sons, Robert and George, both testified against their father, saying he abused them when they were children. Their sister, Joy Fanale, testified in defense of her father, saying he never abused her or her children. She was at her parents’ house during some of the time frame when her father is accused of abusing the grandchildren.

Harriger insisted on his innocence during the trial.

Harriger has been in jail since his $250,000 bond was rescinded on Jan. 27. He was most recently the pastor of the Community Fellowship Church in Hartland, which had to have a separate service without children present for him. Judge James Punch on Feb. 10, 2014, said Harriger could go to church as long as there weren’t children there.

District Attorney Joe Cardone said during the trial that Harriger has committed sex crimes going back generations.

Harriger’s sister Nona attended the trial and she addressed reporters after the guilty verdict was announced. She said her brother abused her.

“It all started with me,” she said.

Cardone praised the three grandchildren for their courage in testifying against their grandfather.

“The dysfunction has been going on in this family for generations,” Cardone told the jury during his closing arguments.

“Thank God they’ve had the strength to come to you to put an end to it and it ends right here.”