PRINCETON, W. Va. – A former Pike View High School teacher and coach charged with sexually abusing students is seeking a change of venue for his trial.

Jonathan Kirk is scheduled to stand trial July 29 in Mercer County Circuit Court and has asked the court to move the trial to another county because of pre-trial publicity.

During a hearing on Monday, Judge William Sadler said he would rule on the request on July 11.

The charges include sexual abuse by a parent or custodian and use of minors in filming sexually explicit conduct.

Kirk had pleaded guilty last November to one sexual abuse count and six counts of distribution of obscene material to a child but Sadler rejected the plea agreement in January. The judge said the plea bargain with prosecutors did not take into account Kirk’s role as a teacher, a position of trust. Most of the crimes allegedly took place on school grounds with teenage girls.

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