Wednesday, August 6, 2003

Priest resigns after verdict

Found guilty of soliciting sex

By David Eck
Enquirer contributor

Raymond Larger

GREEN TOWNSHIP - A Catholic priest found guilty of soliciting an undercover male police officer for sex in a Dayton, Ohio, park last month resigned Tuesday as pastor of Our Lady of Visitation parish.

Raymond Larger, 52, also was stripped of his priestly duties and placed on administrative leave by Cincinnati Archbishop Daniel E. Pilarczyk.

"What this means is he cannot in any way function as a priest,'' said Dan Andriacco, spokesman for the Archdiocese of Cincinnati. "That is the strongest action that a diocesan bishop can take against a priest on his own accord.''

Larger was arrested July 23 and pleaded no contest to two misdemeanor public indecency charges July 25. He was fined $100, plus court costs, and was placed on probation for one year, court records show.

A native of Sidney, Ohio, Larger has been pastor of Our Lady of Visitation for one year. He previously was pastor at St. James in White Oak for 11 years, Andriacco said. Larger was ordained in 1977.

Anthony Brausch, associate pastor at the parish, has been named temporary administrator. The parish serves about 2,000 families.

Brausch said Tuesday he had discussed the situation with parishioners during last Sunday's masses and told them there is an opportunity for God to work within the congregation. Officials are formulating a plan to help parishioners work through their emotions.

"In terms of general reaction, the people were stunned and hurt,'' Brausch said. "And then there's some real disappointment with the whole situation.

"Visitation is a strong, vibrant, faith-filled parish and the people here love the church,'' he added. "They love the parish and I fully expect that will continue. They will come through this very well.''

Karen Vance contributed. E-mail

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