Updated

A new trial date was set Tuesday morning for a local businessman accused of molesting two young girls over the course of several years, after the judge and attorneys on the case had to juggle scheduling conflicts and witness unavailability. 

Attorneys agreed to go to trial Jan. 8 in the Hans Jorgen Kardel case, according to the prosecution.

Prospective jurors who were called during jury selection this month were dismissed last week, after the defense was informed the court that their expert witness had become unavailable to testify.

Kardel, 84, faces a host of felony child sex charges, including oral copulation/sexual penetration with a child under the ages of 10 and 14, aggravated sexual assault of a minor, lewd/lascivious acts with a child under the age of 14 and attempting to dissuade a witness. 

He also faces a special enhancement of allegedly committing the offenses with more than one child. Records indicate that both children were family relatives, and were under the age of 14 at the time of the alleged events, which reportedly began in 2005. 

Incidents were also reported in 2009, 2010, 2012, 2013 and 2015. A criminal protective order was issued for Kardel by the victims' family, according to court records. 

The Santa Barbara County District Attorney's Office filed his felony complaint in January 2016. Kardel pleaded not guilty in February 2016 and was held to answer and stand trial last year after his preliminary hearing. 

He served as president of the Hejls Minde branch of the Dania Lodge of Solvang this year but no longer owns the Santa Maria company he founded, Kardel Insurance Services Inc., which is currently under new management. 

Gina Kim covers crime and courts for Santa Maria Times. Follow her on Twitter @gina_k210

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