Spotlight on abuse: Lay member Michael Gardner

By | December 27, 2022
Convicted child molester Michael Gardner

Michael Gardner, a lay member of Falls Church Episcopal and prominent Democratic activist in Northern Virginia, pled guilty in 2015 to a series of child molestation charges. One case involved his niece, then 12. A separate case involved two girls who participated in a slumber party at his home. The Virginia Supreme Court had overturned a prior conviction regarding the two girls after the trial judge refused to permit character witnesses to testify on Gardner’s behalf. Among those who testified on his behalf was the rector of Falls Church Episcopal.

Subsequently, a secretly recorded phone call emerged. In the call, Gardner’s wife, Robin, a former mayor and city council member, tried to get the niece to drop charges against her husband.

Allegations later emerged that Michael attempted to hire a hitman to kill the two girls.

Additional allegations emerged that Gardner, acting through his wife, placed a threatening ad in the girls’ senior yearbook.

Gardner was sentenced to 20 years imprisonment and supervision for life. Once released, he must register as a sex offender.


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