CRIME

Alleged victims of Michael Gardner's sex abuse testify

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Three young girls testified in a Falls Church courtroom Tuesday against the man accused of sexually assaulting them.

They told a judge their friend's father, 47-year-old Michael Gardner, molested them during a sleepover.

The girls, ages 9 and 10, delivered detailed and damning testimony, reports ABC7’s Stephen Tschida.

One clutching a stuffed animal, the girls said Gardner came into the basement of his home late at night during his daughter's slumber party on June 18. They said he slid his hand under their clothing. One said he touched her four different times during the night.

The 9-year-old was taken to Inova Fairfax Hospital, where an exam was done by a specially trained sexual assault nurse examiner.

Another 10-year-old girl said two nights earlier she spent the night in his daughter's room when Gardner came and laid down next to her and touched her breasts, stomach and private parts. She said he asked her if it felt good, to which she replied no.

Michael Gardner is a former local Democratic Party official and husband of former Falls Church Mayor and current councilmember Robin Gardner. In 2006-2007, Gardner had served as the chairman of the Falls Church City Democratic Committee. Neither he nor his attorney were willing to comment after the court appearance.

“We are going to try this case in the courtroom, alright, that is all I am going to say,” Garder’s attorney Peter Greenspun said.

Greenspun asked questions to indicate the girl's memories could be clouded, or their stories influenced by talking with each other.

The judge ruled there is probably cause to send these charges to a grand jury. She also refused a request to allow Gardner to see his own children.

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