Gardner Arrested Again On New Sexual Battery Charge

By Stephen Siegel
Falls Church Times Staff
October 1, 2014

Michael Gardner, the husband of former Falls Church City Mayor Robin Gardner, was arrested Tuesday morning at his home on a new charge of sexual battery of a minor.

The new charge, which relates to an accusation from 2009, is different from the accusations that led to Mr. Gardner’s arrest in 2011 and subsequent conviction in 2012. That conviction was overturned by the Virginia Supreme Court in June and a new trial on those charges had previously been scheduled for February 2015.

The new case began after two indictments were returned by an Arlington County grand jury on Sept. 29. That grand jury was impaneled after a young girl this summer told an adult that she was abused by Mr. Gardner on Nov. 1, 2009. The adult was a mandatory reporter, meaning he or she was required by law to relay the allegations of abuse to authorities.

Police say the new accuser is related to Mr. Gardner. He is being held without bond pending an appearance in Arlington County Circuit Court, which is scheduled for Oct. 6.

Mr. Gardner was first arrested by Falls Church City Police in June 2011, after three young girls alleged he had touched them sexually when they were at the Gardner home for events with Mr. Gardner’s daughter.

He was found guilty of two counts of aggravated sexual battery and one count of object penetration. The judge declared a mistrial on a fourth count.

Defense attorney Peter Greenspun had a difficult case to defend, given that three girls were making accusations and that DNA evidence supported those accusations when Mr. Gardner’s DNA was found inside one accuser’s underwear.

Mr. Greenspun argued that was simply the result of the girls being at Mr. Gardner’s house, a contention that prosecutor Nicole Wittman of Loudoun County said was preposterous.

In addition to being the husband of a former City mayor, Mr. Gardner also was a former chair of the Falls Church City Democratic Committee.

His conviction in May 2012 came after an Arlington County jury deliberated for seven hours over two days. Mr. Gardner was sentenced in September 2012 to 22 years in prison and served 21 months until June 2014, when the Virginia Supreme Court ruled, 6-1, that both the Arlington County Circuit Court and the Virginia Court of Appeals erred by prohibiting two of Mr. Gardner’s witnesses from testifying to his good character.

Prosecutors have elected not to retry Mr. Gardner on the charge that originally ended in a mistrial. That charge involved a third accuser who alleged abuse on a separate and earlier night from the other two.

Thus, the new trial will be on three counts, not four, and involves two accusers and not three. It’s not known why the decision was made to drop the fourth charge from the case.

It’s also not clear how the new charges will affect the original case.

By
October 1, 2014 

Comments

4 Responses to “Gardner Arrested Again On New Sexual Battery Charge”

  1. TFC on October 1st, 2014 11:50 am

    wow

  2. Rob Loblaw on October 1st, 2014 2:12 pm

    Saw Nick B. walking into CVS on W. Broad St. today. He was looking extra super duper glum. Wonder if it had anything to do with tickle monster Mike G.

  3. Dale Walton on October 1st, 2014 3:09 pm

    Just think….there was the 2011 incident and arrest, the investigation, the denials, the trial that tried to shift blame to the victims’ family, the claim of faulty police work, the attempts of certain folks in the local media to manipulate public opinion, the release from prison because of a legal technicality, etc…..only to now have another allegation that precedes the 2011 incident. Any guess and will we know who the 2009 victim is?

  4. Conjecturer… on October 2nd, 2014 10:00 am

    Well, it is a tragedy all the way around, especially for the victims, of course. And this time the victim is apparently a “relative” who is a “minor”. I suppose this outcome is not all that surprising, considering the reams of well-documented, published psychiatric data on predatorial personalities and their behaviors.

    We can all guess who that minor might be, and in time we will all know. But there is no satisfaction, really, because the damage is done. Denial runs deep in those families and communities in which this happens, and that is very much part of the pathology in which these behaviors can come to fruition. It can happen in any family, across multitudinous social boundaries. It’s our neighbors and our friends and our relatives. All criminals are, at their core, purely narcissists, because they believe they will never get caught. Only they do. Just be grateful it’s not you or your own family, and never take anything for granted.

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