• Former pastor pleads guilty to engaging in sexual acts with minors

    By: Mark Becker


    GASTONIA, N.C. - A former Gaston County pastor could spend the rest of his life in prison after pleading guilty to molesting two young girls while he was doing mission work in Haiti in 2009.

    Larry Bollinger broke down and cried as he thanked his wife for her support and apologized for what he'd done.

    "I did what I did and I am ready to take responsibility for it," Larry Bollinger, 67, told a magistrate judge Friday morning.

    Bollinger pleaded guilty to what prosecutors called illicit sexual conduct with two girls who were 11 and 12 years old when he was doing mission work in Haiti in 2009.

    Exactly what Bollinger did is detailed in a federal affidavit and most of it is too graphic to share.

    It says Bollinger told a therapist that he had molested four girls between 11 and 16 years old, and one of those girls said that many times he offered to pay her with money or food if she would do what he asked.

    Later, his attorney said Bollinger never denied his guilt.

    "He's here because he sought help and told his treatment provider. His treatment provider reported it, and he confessed," said Tony Scheer, his defense attorney, who added that confessing to a therapist and later to federal investigators has changed Bollinger's life.

    Bollinger could be facing as much as 30 years in prison on each of two counts.

    "He launched his life in a different direction. And over the two and a half years, I think, he was expressing his appreciation to his wife and others for being able to be with his wife and his family during that time," Scheer said.

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