GATE CITY — A Southwest Virginia man accused of sexually abusing a young girl had his trial date moved to next year during an appearance earlier this month in Scott County Circuit Court.
Charles Franklin “Buck” Hensley, 59, of Gate City, is now scheduled to face a jury trial beginning Jan. 21.
The trial was continued from its original date of Dec. 18 to allow Hensley’s new defense attorney Jeremy O’Quinn time to review the case. Hensley was previously represented by attorney Sherri Wilson, who withdrew from the case.
Hensley was indicted in August by a Scott County grand jury on a single count of sexual battery of a child under the age of 13. He pleaded not guilty to the charge at his August arraignment hearing.
Hensley’s next court appearance is scheduled for Jan. 13 in front of Circuit Court Judge John Kilgore.
Kilgore is also expected to rule on a request by the Scott County Commonwealth’s Attorney’s Office to have the victim in the case testify at Hensley’s trial over closed circuit television.
Scott County Commonwealth’s Attorney Marcus McClung, who is prosecuting the case with Assistant Commonwealth’s Attorney Kim Mumpower, declined to comment on Hensley’s charge due to the age of the victim involved.
McClung did comment, however, on his office’s pending motion.
“If the commonwealth feels a witness can be emotionally damaged by testifying in open court, there is a mechanism the court has that allows them to testify by closed circuit TV,” McClung said. “The defendant will still be able to face his accuser, it will just be over closed circuit and he won’t be in the same room as the victim.”
Hensley’s charge — aggravated sexual battery of a minor — is considered a Class U felony. If convicted, Hensley faces a maximum sentence of 20 years in prison and a fine of up to $100,000.
The Virginia Code defines the charge as causing a victim under the age of 13 to touch either their own genitals or those of another person, including the accused.
According to court records, the alleged sexual assault occurred in Scott County sometime on or around July 1, 2013.
The criminal complaint did not specify the age of the young girl involved.
The alleged incident was investigated by the Scott County Sheriff’s Office Criminal Investigations Division.