May 19, 2005

Pastor's church trial canceled after deal

Indianapolis Star

By Robert King

A rare United Methodist church trial scheduled to begin today was averted after a Jeffersonville minister and the woman who accused him of sexual harassment reached an agreement that resulted in the charges being withdrawn.

The agreement means the Rev. Larry Martin, pastor of Wesley United Methodist Church in Jeffersonville, is eligible to return to the ministry. If he had been found guilty at a public trial, Martin could have been defrocked.

Martin could not be reached for comment Wednesday. But the Rev. Mark Dicken, pastor of Newburgh United Methodist Church and a former attorney who was to defend Martin at the trial, said the agreement was the result of talks that had been going on for months.

"We're all very happy that we are able to resolve this in a mutually agreed manner within the church. That's always a good thing," Dicken said. "The church was able to take care of its own business."

Methodist officials said they have no record of a church trial ever having been conducted in Indiana, where Methodists have more than 200 years of history.

Posted by kshaw at May 19, 2005 08:36 AM