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Preacher faces sex crime charges, friend speaks out

By Nadia Singh, nsingh@wdbj7.com
Published On: Dec 24 2013 03:30:45 PM EST
Updated On: Nov 08 2013 09:56:00 PM EST
Larry Clark

Rockbridge County Sheriff's Office photo

Larry Clark

BUENA VISTA, Va. -

Larry Clark may be best known in our region for organizing The Virginia Southern Gospel Festival for the last 12 years. But now, he's making headlines for alleged sex crimes against children.

A small Buena Vista church community is shocked over the allegations that the pastor of Pentecostal Outreach Church, Larry Clark molested two young boys in his home just a few steps away from the church.

"He is a very Godly man; he's a wonderful pastor, a wonderful friend," said Gail Hooper of Christiansburg and long time friend of Clark's.

Hooper has known Larry Clark for 12 years and is shocked over the molestation allegations he's facing.

"This is crazy. I have worked with this man on outdoor singings and revivals, I've sang at his church. I have been around him quite a bit."

Search warrants show that one boy was molested in the bathroom at Clark's home. Another, was contacted by Clark through Facebook inviting him to the same house. Police think the crimes happened in 2011. But Hooper says there's something fishy about the claims.

"I am a mom and if my child had went through something like this, then I would've said something before the two years."

But Hooper isn't the only sounding off about this. We received hundreds of comments from you on our Facebook page showing outrage over Clark's alleged behavior. An outlet, Hooper says is implicating a man she says is innocent.

"People are so judgmental, that's what kept going through my mind today. All these comments on Facebook, judging him, when they don't even know him and that's the problem with society."

The pastor was arrested Thursday after investigators searched his home and faces several felony charges.

"He's human and before we judge someone, we have to hear all the facts."

Clark is being held without bond in Rockbridge County Jail.