Pastor pleads guilty to molesting minors during Haiti mission trip

GASTON COUNTY, NC (WBTV) - A former Gastonia-area pastor accused of traveling to Haiti during a church ministry and molesting four minors pleaded guilty in court Friday morning.

Larry Michael Bollinger, 67, pleaded not guilty to the charges in U.S. District Court in Charlotte in May, but he entered a guilty plea on two counts of sexual misconduct with a minor in federal court Friday.

Bollinger admitted Friday that from about August 2009 to October 2009, he sexually molested four Haitian females, between the ages of 11 and 16.

According to court records, one of the victims said that Bollinger offered to give her food and money in exchange for sexual acts.

Bollinger was pastor at Christ's Evangelical Lutheran Church in Stanley when he and his wife went to Haiti to work with the Lazarus Project in 2004. The project runs a vocational school and medical clinic.

A spokesman for The Lazarus Project said Bollinger worked several years as coordinator, but was removed when the allegations were made.

Prosecutors say the 2010 earthquake delayed the investigation.

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.

A sentencing date for Bollinger has not been set yet.

In court Friday, Bollinger said he was very remorseful and he thanked his wife for "the best years" of their marriage.

Copyright 2013 WBTV. The Associated Press contributed to this report. All rights reserved.