BEDFORD - A trial is set to begin this morning for a traveling preacher accused of raping an 11-year-old girl in a Bedford County hotel room several years ago.
The Rev. Walter Bradshaw, 63, of Lexington, N.C., has awaited trial for nearly two years in Bedford County Prison.
Police said Bradshaw raped a girl, then 11 years old, after her mother dropped the girl off to spend the night with Bradshaw in 2007 or 2008 at the Janey Lynn Motel in Bedford Township.
In April, the girl's mother pleaded no contest to charges that she'd left her daughter with Bradshaw and later encouraged her to lie to the authorities.
The mother, whom the Mirror has not named to protect her daughter's identity, received a two- to-six-year state prison sentence after the plea.
Thomas Crawford, Bradshaw's Pittsburgh-based defense attorney, said the mother's plea won't have any bearing on this week's trial.
Asked what observers can expect in court today, Crawford said only: "We can expect Mr. Bradshaw did not do it."
Bedford County District Attorney Bill Higgins said prosecutors have enough evidence to convict Bradshaw on the 23 charges he faces.
"What this case is," Higgins said, "is a pastor who took advantage of a young child and her mother who failed to protect her."