January 29, 2015

A New York pastor this week was convicted of molesting his grandchildren just as he had been accused of sexually abusing his own children years before.

Jurors in Orleans County on Monday found 71-year-old pastor Roy Harriger guilty of molesting two of his grandchildren about 12 years ago, WGRZ reported. Harriger had originally been charged with molesting three of his grandchildren.

Another 15 people in three states signed affidavits last year alleging that they had also been molested by Harriger as children. But most of those cases were ruled to be past the statute of limitations.

At the trial, defense attorneys tried to turn the tables on Harriger's son, asking him why he had let Harriger babysit his children if he had also been abused by his father as a child.

"So your testimony is that you continued to expose your children to the person that sexually abused you a generation before?" the defense attorney asked.

"I was a child then, he told me he had been possessed by demons, but that God had forgiven him," the son replied. "He vowed he would never hurt anyone like that again, and that he would spend his life making up to what he'd done. I believed him."

When defense attorneys pressed the point, Harriger's son exploded: "Do you get off on treating victims this way?"

After a jury returned a guilty verdict on Monday, the family was shocked that the court did not take him into custody immediately.

"Our understanding was he was gonna have his bail revoked," Harriger's son said. "He should not be on the streets. He was convicted of child molestation. That man should not be on the streets."

But on Wednesday, the bail bondsman who had secured Harriger's release took the unusual step of personally rescinding his bond.

Sources told WGRZ that the bondsman might have been concerned that the 71-year-old Harriger was essentially facing life in prison, making a bond forfeiture more likely.

Harriger's sentencing is scheduled for April 6. He faces up to 25 years in prison.

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