Man sentence to 25 years for sexual assault of young girl
A man has been sentenced to 25 years for the sexual assault of a young girl over five years in both Madison and Rankin counties, the district attorney’s office said last week.
John Anthony Gardner, 42, was sentenced to serve 25 years for sexual battery on Thursday, Nov. 4, Madison and Rankin Counties’ District Attorney Bubba Bramlett announced.
The sentence was handed down after a two-day trial in Madison Circuit Court that began on Nov. 2. All time will have to be served day-for-day without the chance of early release or parole, Bramlett said. Gardner will also have to register as a sex offender after he is released from custody.
“This case was made possible by the hard work and dedication of both the Madison and Rankin counties sheriffs’ departments,” Bramlett said. “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.”
Bramlett said the case began in September 2019 when 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 9 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 to authorities.
The Madison and Rankin counties 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 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.