May 19, 2005

Church trial called off; late settlement reached

The Courier-Journal

By Alex Davis
The Courier-Journal

A last-minute deal was reached yesterday to avoid a rare church trial for a Jeffersonville pastor accused of sexual harassment.

The trial for the Rev. Larry Martin, pastor of Wesley United Methodist Church, was scheduled to begin this morning in New Albany before a jury of 13 clergy members.

No details of the charges -- or the settlement of the case -- were released. But Martin, if convicted, could have lost his ordination as a minister.

Some members of Martin's church reacted yesterday with a sense of relief.

"Yes, yes," said Eugenia Stover. "It is very much a sigh of relief."

The trial would have cost the United Methodist Church an estimated $20,000 to $30,000 for travel, lodging and legal advice, said Daniel Gangler, its director of communications in Indianapolis.

Posted by kshaw at May 19, 2005 08:30 AM