Trial starts against former Lyndonville pastor charged with sex crimes

By Tom Rivers, Editor Posted 21 January 2015 at 12:00 am

Roy Harriger

ALBION – A trial against a pastor who used to lead a Lyndonville church has started in Orleans County Court.

The Rev. Roy Harriger, 71, faces charges of course of sexual conduct against a child and endangering the welfare of a child in connection with three alleged victims.

He also faces three counts of incest because three of his alleged victims are family members. If convicted, he could be sentenced to up to 25 years in state prison.

Harriger’s son Robert Harriger took the stand this morning and said he was sexually abused by his father when Robert was 5 or 6 until he was 15 or 16. That abuse allegedly started about 40 years ago.

Harriger is accused of abusing Robert’s children about 15 years ago when the children visited the church parsonage.

A 12-person jury was picked on Tuesday and testimony began this morning.

Harriger is represented by Larry Koss. District Attorney Joseph Cardone is leading the prosecution.

Koss asked Robert Harriger why he would let his children be around their grandfather if Robert had been sexually abused by the same man.

Robert said he thought he was his father’s only victim. He said his father apologized for the crimes, saying he was “demon possessed and had got forgiveness from God.”

“I still believed my father wouldn’t hurt my children,” Robert Harriger said. “I believed he had been forgiven.”

Roy Harriger was arraigned on three counts of coarse sexual contact in the first degree and three counts of incest on Nov. 27, 2013 after being charged by the state police. He has been free on $250,000 bail.

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.

Harriger was the pastor at Ashwood Wesleyan for 12 years before he was terminated by the church in 2009 after a falling out with denomination leaders. Harriger then started a new church, Community Fellowship Church in Middleport.