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Aaron’s court-selected lawyer withdraws from case

The court-appointed counsel for former pastor and accused child sex abuser Ralph Lee Aaron submitted a motion to withdraw from the case Monday.

Aaron, the 54-year-old former pastor of Grace Christian Fellowship, was charged last month with 152 counts of sex-related crimes including the production and possession of child pornography, sexual abuse and torture and sodomy. He is currently in the county jail under a $24.5 million bond.

Al Smith of Elba was appointed as defense counsel days after Aaron’s arrest. He and Aaron were scheduled to meet county district attorney Greg Gambril on Friday for a preliminary hearing; however that meeting was postponed due to “conflicting schedules.”

According to court documents, Aaron is now represented by Thomas Brantley of Dothan.

It remains unknown when the preliminary hearing will be rescheduled.