More than a dozen people have now come forward with allegations of sexual abuse against a local pastor.
A grand jury will review Reverend Roy Harriger’s case. At least 15 people in three states have now signed affidavits claiming that Harriger molested them as children.
The case first came to light last Thanksgiving, when State Police announced Harriger’s arrest. The 70-year-old pastor of Community Fellowship Church in the Town of Hartland was charged with incest, sodomy, and course of sexual conduct.
He’s accused of molesting a boy and a girl about 12 years ago when he was pastor of the Wesleyan Church in Lyndonville.
Those who know him from church came out to support him.
Church member Donna Kidney said, “I know he did not do it. He’s innocent. I know in my spirit, he’s innocent.”
His own son, George Harriger, told News 4 he was molested as a boy but never realized there were others.
“It was just one of those things that everybody thought they were the only one,” George said.
Two months ago, police told News 4 they knew of about 10 possible victims that are all now grown adult relatives that could not press charges against Harriger this long after the alleged abuse took place. But News 4 has learned that at least 15 people in three states have signed affidavits claiming that Harriger molested them as children.
George said, “It surprises me and it don’t surprise me. I mean, I didn’t think it was going to be this big but… The people are coming forward. I wish people would understand they need to come forward because like me, it’s 40 years later and you know all these kids and everything that they’re now coming forward with even ones that have testified before have come out with even more.”
An Orleans County grand jury began hearing the case Thursday afternoon. George Harriger urges those who have been molested by anyone in the past to tell police.
“No matter how afraid you are or whatever, people will stand behind you and this case has proven that 100 percent,” he said.
We may not know for several days if the grand jury hands down an indictment. Roy Harriger is free on $25,000.