Franklin man accused of sexually abusing minors arraigned in court

Published: Nov. 14, 2023 at 4:33 PM EST|Updated: Nov. 14, 2023 at 7:00 PM EST
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FRANKLIN, Wv. (WHSV) - A Franklin man accused of multiple counts of sexual abuse of a minor was in court on Tuesday. Lawrence Puffenbarger, the man known as ‘Grasshopper’ by many in the community, was indicted in Pendleton County Circuit Court on Tuesday.

Puffenbarger was arraigned on three indictments, totaling seven felony charges of First Degree Sexual Abuse. Court records show that all the victims in the case are under 12 years old.

Puffenbarger’s defense attorney entered a plea of not guilty on all counts in court on Tuesday morning. The defense also motioned for a competency evaluation of Puffenbarger which was granted by the judge, meaning it will likely be at least two months before Puffenbarger is back in court.

The judge also granted a motion from Pendleton County Prosecuting Attorney April Mallow to appoint a Guardian Ad Litem for the suit to represent the interests of the victims, who are all minors.

Puffenbarger is currently out of jail on Home Incarceration Bond and is prohibited from having any contact with minors. A pre-trial motion in the case will be scheduled once Puffenbarger’s competency evaluation is complete with a jury trial to be set at a later date.

WHSV will continue to follow this case and provide additional information as we learn more.