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Moving to Another Country and Molesting Children is Still Illegal
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Larry Bollinger Lutheran minister

Summary: An American minister that returned from Haiti, where he molested several young girls, for sex addiction treatment was arrested on federal charges.

Federal law prohibits U.S. citizens from traveling to another country where they perform in non-commercial, illicit sexual conduct. Ordained Lutheran minister Larry Bollinger moved to Haiti with his wife in 2004 to oversee a ministry and religious center that included a school. Five years after moving to the country, he began molesting three, 11-year old Haitian girls.


Bollinger returned to the U.S. to receive treatment for his sex addiction, where he was arrested, convicted, and sentenced to 25 years in prison under the federal statute. The minimum sentence for a first time offender is 15 years with the maximum being 30 years in prison.

Bollinger’s claim that the law was unconstitutional in how it criminalizes non-commercial activity was rejected by the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit. Bollinger was trying to prove that under the Foreign Commerce Clause, Congress does not have the authority to regulate commerce in this instance. Currently, the law bans citizens and permanent residents from traveling outside the country and participating in rape, sexual molestation of a child, or paying a child for sex.

Judge Roger Gregory of the panel acknowledged the fact that the law had yet to be examined by the Supreme Court to find what level the law can reach to. However, they ultimately rejected his claims that Congress’ interstate commerce clause be used for the foreign commerce clause because both deal with different matters.

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