By Olivia Hampton
A preliminary hearing for Buena Vista Pastor Larry Clark that had been scheduled for Jan. 27 was postponed until next month. Clark is now scheduled to appear in the Rockbridge Juvenile and Domestic Court on Feb. 25.
Clark, the 61-year-old pastor of Pentecostal Outreach Church has been arrested three times since early November.
He faces 20 counts of sexual misconduct with a minor and eight counts of taking indecent liberties with a child, according to his court file.
Chief Deputy Commonwealth’s Attorney Christopher Billias said the preliminary hearing was postponed for two reasons – Clark recently changed attorneys and the prosecution filed a motion on Jan. 22 for closed-circuit testimony.
“The attorney that was representing him originally withdrew and a new attorney was retained,” Billias said.
Kelly Cutler, a Lynchburg-based attorney, is now representing Clark. Cutler did not return several phone calls to his office.
Billias said Cutler “questioned the necessity of closed-circuit testimony” so there will be a hearing for the judge to either approve or deny the motion on Monday.
The judge must decide on this motion before the preliminary hearing can occur.
If the motion is passed, the closed circuit testimony will allow one of the boys Clark is accused of abusing to testify in a separate room via video monitor. This means he won’t have to face Clark in an open courtroom, but everyone, including Clark, will be able to see him.
Billias said closed-circuit testimonies occur because the court is concerned a victim will experience “long-term traumatic effects.” The closed circuit protects the victim while maintaining the rights of the defendant.
Clark was first arrested on Nov. 7 on three charges of taking indecent liberties with a minor. The alleged 2011 incidents involved a 15-year-old male.
After his first arrest Clark was released from the Rockbridge Regional Jail on a $7,500 bond.
His second arrest was on Nov. 26. He was released on a $25,000 bond shortly after.
Clark’s most recent arrest was on Dec. 11. He was once again charged with sexual crimes against a minor.
This arrest was for more counts than the previous two because Clark allegedly engaged with the third minor over the longest period of time.
Clark was denied bond for his most recent charges at a hearing in December. He appealed this decision.
Judge Anita Filson of Rockbridge Juvenile and Domestic Relations Court granted him a $200,000 bond earlier this month.
Clark was granted the bond on additional stipulations, including that he wear a monitoring device at all times.
Clark has not yet posted bond and is being held at Rockbridge Regional Jail. If convicted, he could face up to 10 years in prison and up to $100,000 in fines.