A U.S. pastor has been indicted by a federal grand jury on charges of travelling to Haiti to have sex with children.
Larry Michael Bollinger, from Gaston, North Carolina, ‘did knowingly travel… from the United States to Haiti, and engage in illicit sexual conduct’ with two minors, according to a bill of indictment filed in the U.S. District Court for the Western District of North Carolina on Tuesday.
Records show Bollinger was booked into the Mecklenburg County jail late Wednesday evening.
The alleged sexual acts occurred in 2009, between August 1 and November 18, according to the Charlotte Observer.
Bollinger, a Lutheran pastor for 33 years, had been working as a coordinator with The Lazarus Project, a mostly Lutheran ministry that runs a vocational school and medical clinic in the Caribbean country.
Current coordinator of the Project, Rev. Ron Qualley, told the Charlotte Observer that Bolliger ‘was immediately removed from that position’ when the sexual accusations first came to light in 2009.
‘This is not anything we condone,’ he said.
But Rev. Qualley insisted Bollinger ‘did very good work’ during his time with the Project, which has been operating in Haiti for 16 years.
He said that while the accusations had come as a shock, the ministry had not been impacted and continued to do its work.
‘The people of Haiti depend on our good work,’ he said. ‘We’re trying to do the best we can.’
Bollinger and his wife had done volunteer work with the House of Mercy, a residential care facility in Belmont for individuals in the advanced stages of AIDS, according to the Charlotte Observer.
He is also believed to have been the pastor at Christ Lutheran Church in Stanley in the past.