NC pastor pleads guilty to molesting minors during mission trip
GASTON COUNTY, N.C. – A former Gastonia-area pastor pleaded guilty to molesting four minors during a church ministry to Haiti while doing missionary work.
WBTV reported that Larry Michael Bollinger, 67, entered a guilty plea on two counts of sexual misconduct with a minor in federal court Friday. He pleaded not guilty to the charges in U.S. District Court in Charlotte in May.
Bollinger admitted that he sexually molested four Haitian females, between the ages of 11 and 16, from about August 2009 to October 2009.
One of the victims said that Bollinger offered to give her food and money in exchange for sexual acts, according to court records.
Bollinger was pastor at Christ’s Evangelical Lutheran Church in Stanley. He and his wife went to Haiti to work with the Lazarus Project in 2004. The project runs a medical clinic and vocational school.
A spokesman for The Lazarus Project said Bollinger was removed as coordinator of the project when the allegations were made. He reportedly worked several years with the project.
Each count of engaging in illicit sexual conduct in a foreign place carries a maximum penalty of 30 years in prison and a $250,000 fine.
Bollinger said in court that he was very remorseful and he thanked his wife for “the best years” of their marriage.
A sentencing date for Bollinger has not been set yet.