Dothan businessman’s sex charge hearing bumped to 2024

This restaurant operator is charged with sexually assaulting a victim around 20 years old.
Clark, the franchisee of two Dothan Smoothie Kings, faces charges that he raped and sodomized a young female adult.
Updated: Nov. 11, 2023 at 8:00 AM CST
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DOTHAN, Ala. (WTVY) - A hearing testing sex charges facing an influential Dothan businessman won’t take place until next year.

Due to a scheduling conflict, court records show that a judge moved Jerald Reginald Clark’s preliminary hearing from December until early January.

After hearing evidence, Houston County District Judge Benjamin Lewis will determine if evidence implicating Clark of Rape and Sodomy is strong enough to forward his case to a grand jury.

Unlike trials, a low threshold of proof makes it almost a certainty Lewis will find sufficient evidence.

Prosecutors will likely rely solely on testimony from only one police investigator and not put the victim on the stand at the hearing.

Police claim the charges involved only one victim but don’t rule out future arrests involving others.

After a week’s stay in the Houston County Jail, Lewis set bond on November 1, and Clark was released that same day.

Clark proclaimed his innocence through his highly-regarded attorney, Derek Yarbrough.

When arrested, he was the franchisee of two Smoothie Kings and an Avis Rental Car employee. Sources said he is no longer with AVIS, and Smoothie King’s corporate office did not immediately respond to a message seeking comment.

The two Dothan Smoothie Kings that Clark operated closed almost immediately after his arrest on October 25.

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