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MS man sentenced for sexual battery of 9-year-old girl

John Anthony Gardner (Image courtesy of the Madison County Sheriff's Department)

Madison and Rankin Counties’ District Attorney Bubba Bramlett, announced that 42-year-old John Anthony Gardner has been sentenced to serve 25 years for Sexual Battery. The sentence was handed down after a two day trial in Madison Circuit Court. All time will have to be served day for day without the chance or early release or parole. Gardner will also have to register as a sex offender after he is released from custody.

In September 2019, the Rankin County Sheriff’s Department received a complaint regarding potential sexual abuse regarding a minor child. The child alleged that her mother’s long-term boyfriend had been sexually assaulting her since she was nine years old in both Madison and Rankin Counties. The child was 14 years old at the time she disclosed the abuse to her mother and then authorities. The Madison and Rankin County Sheriff’s Departments conducted a joint investigation into the allegations, and Gardner was indicted for sexual battery in both counties.

Gardner proceeded to trial on the Madison County charges and a jury convicted him after a very short deliberation. At trial, the minor child described the years of sexual abuse by Gardner. It began when he would take her hunting or fishing but continued at home when her mother would be at work. Two of Gardner’s biological children also testified against him at trial.

District Attorney Bramlett stated, “This case was made possible by the hard work and dedication of both the Madison and Rankin County Sheriff’s Departments. This district is blessed to have so many agencies within it that are dedicated to protecting our children. But more importantly, we were able to get a guilty verdict due to the bravery of a teenage girl who stood up against her abuser and most likely saved countless other victims in the process. I am so proud of her, our outstanding law enforcement, our team at the District Attorney’s Office, and our citizens who are continuing to honor their commitment to jury service.”

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