After Conviction Overturned, Michael Gardner Charged With Aggravated Sexual Battery of a Child in New Case

A man whose conviction for abusing girls at his daughter's slumber party was overturned is now facing a charge in a new case, officials announced Wednesday.

Michael Gardner, a former Democratic official in Falls Church, Virginia, is facing one felony count of aggravated sexual battery of a child.

The victim in that case is a family member who was younger than 13 at the time of the assault, authorities said.

Falls Church authorities said the allegations came to light following Gardner's release from prison after the Virginia Supreme Court overturned his conviction in a 2011 case.

In that case, Gardner was accused of molesting three girls who had attended a sleepover party for his daughter's 10th birthday.

He was convicted in 2012 of two counts of aggravated sexual battery and one count of object penetration, charges that involved two of the girls. An Arlington County Circuit Court jury was unable to reach a verdict on a charge related to the third child.

Gardner was sentenced to 22 years in prison. However, in a 6-1 ruling in June, the Virginia Supreme Court said his case will be retried because the trial judge had improperly barred two character witnesses from testifying whether he had a reputation as a good caretaker of children.

In the new case, authorities say the victim spoke of abuse to a person who, by law, is a mandated reporter of child abuse allegations.

Gardner is now being held without bond at the Arlington County Adult Detention Center pending a court appearance.

Gardner had been chairman of the Democratic committee in Falls Church and his wife is a former mayor.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

Contact Us