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NEW JERSEY: Methodist pastor resigns after prostitution arrest

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The pastor of an Upper Township Methodist church announced his resignation this week over charges he loitered in his hometown of Millville to engage a prostitute.

The Rev. Randy Harry’s resignation Sunday came just days after parents at the church’s preschool demanded he step down.

Harry, 51, sent a letter of resignation to the Rev. Paul Maliel, the district superintendent of the United Methodist Church.

“The reasons for his resignation were his well-being and health,” Maliel said. “This has brought tremendous stress on him.”

Harry was arrested Nov. 11 in Millville after a police officer said he witnessed him driving in circles through downtown and letting a woman with a history of prostitution into his vehicle.

Harry has denied the charges. He later pleaded guilty to a reduced charge of disorderly conduct. His attorney, Jeffrey DiLazzero, said he advised Harry to do so.

Harry became the pastor at Trinity United Methodist Church on Route 9 in Marmora in the fall. He does not teach at the preschool, but parents said they should have been immediately notified of his arrest anyway.

At a public meeting to discuss the controversy Wednesday, a large group of parents yelled at him and church leadership, saying Harry should step down or they would pull their children out of the preschool.

DiLazzero and Administrative Council Chairwoman Diana Adelizzi did not immediately return calls Monday