By Cecelia Smith-Schoenwalder

The second trial of former Buena Vista pastor Larry Clark on charges of sex crimes against a minor has been delayed.

The trial was set to begin on Tuesday, but Clark notified the court about two weeks prior that he had hired a new lawyer, Dirk Padgett of Roanoke. They have asked that the trial be rescheduled so they have more time to prepare.

“I’m coming in completely cold, and I don’t know anything about the case itself and the previous case,” Padgett said. “It will take a while for me to get back up to speed.”

A hearing is set for Tuesday in Rockbridge Juvenile and Domestic Relations District Court to set a new trial date.

Clark, 63, will be tried on two counts of indecent liberties as a custodian and one count of child cruelty.

The charges arise from accusations by the second of three teenage boys who came forward. All were members of Clark’s Pentecostal Outreach Church in Buena Vista. In May 2014, when Clark was indicted, the boys were 14, 16 and 17 years old.

Clark was found guilty of three counts of indecent liberties and two counts of endangering a child in his first trial in October. He was sentenced to 35 years in prison. He is currently in the Rockbridge Regional Jail.

Deputy Commonwealth’s Attorney Christopher Billias said it is fair for Padgett to ask the court for more time.

“For a new attorney to walk in on a case of this magnitude it will take some time to catch up on the facts,” Billias said.

Billias told WDBJ-TV in Roanoke after the first trial that he would wait to see how many years Clark would be sentenced to before pursuing a second trial.

Billias said this week he hopes for an outcome similar to the first trial. He said at this point he is preparing for a jury trial and not a plea deal.

Initially, Clark was indicted on more than 30 charges related to sexual molestation. The first victim said Clark molested him every Sunday after church starting in 2011 and for the next three years.

Clark has continued to maintain his innocence.

“[Clark] is in a situation where he feels he is not guilty of these charges, and regardless of what he gets, he is not going to admit to something he didn’t do,” Padgett said.

Members of Clark’s church testified on his behalf during the first trial. Church and youth group members said they never witnessed Clark alone with the first victim or giving him special treatment of any kind.

According to Padgett, Clark plans to appeal the outcome of the first trial when he can.

Clark filed a motion to withdraw his lawyer, Kelly Cutler, on Jan. 28. Cutler did not respond to attempts by The Rockbridge Report to contact her.

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