(This story got a lot of coverage when Father Larger was accused; it's only fair that the acquittal get coverage, as well...)
A Tri-State priest accused of raping a young boy was acquitted Monday, News 5 reported.
Raymond Larger, convicted of sex charges two years ago, had been indicted on three counts of rape, two counts of sexual battery and one count of gross sexual imposition against a minor boy between 1995 and 1997.
Larger was a priest at St. James Church in White Oak at that time.
The 21-year-old man who accused Larger of molesting him is currently serving a sentence for breaking an entering. He testified all morning and most of the afternoon, but Judge Robert Ruehlman found that he contradicted himself several times in his account.
"There is so much doubt here, and before you can convict somebody, you've got to be convinced beyond a reasonable doubt," Ruehlman said. "The testimony I've heard from this prosecuting witness does not come even close to that."
Ruehlman found the former pastor not guilty on all counts.
"I said that I was not guilty," Larger said. "It's a completely false accusation."
Christy Miller, of the Survivors Network of Those Abused By Priests, disagreed with Ruehlman's quick dismissal.
"When it comes to child sexual abuse, there are no witnesses," she said. "It does happen on a one-on-one basis."
After Larger was indicted in August, Cincinnati Archbishop Daniel E. Pilarczyk placed Larger on administrative leave and stripped him of his priestly duties for the second time.
"His position in the Archdiocese will be addressed when the pending civil suit has been resolved," a statement from Pilarczyk said Monday.
Pilarczyk had suspended Larger after he was arrested in July 2003 on suspicion of soliciting a male police officer for sex in a park in Dayton, Ohio. Larger, who was pastor of Our Lady of Visitation Church in Mack, pleaded no contest to two misdemeanor public indecency charges. He was fined $100, plus court costs, and placed on probation for one year, court records show.
Larger returned to active ministry in May 2004. He had been assigned to St. Peter in Chains Cathedral downtown.