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Michael Gardner released from jail, babysitter arrested for rape

Michael Gardner, a well-known political official who formerly chaired the Falls Church Democratic Committee, is out of jail after a two-year hiatus. Gardner is the husband of Robin Gardner, former mayor of Falls Church, Va.

Gardner was arrested by Falls Church police in September 2011 and sentenced to 22 years in prison for molesting two girls at a slumber party in his home a year later.

The Falls Church Times revealed Monday of Gardner’s situation –

Michael Gardner, the husband of former Falls Church City Mayor Robin Gardner, was released on a $50,000 bond Monday, more than two years after he was convicted on two counts of child molestation and less than three weeks after that conviction was overturned by the Virginia Supreme Court.

{But} the conviction was overturned this month when the Virginia Supreme Court ruled, 6-1, that both the Arlington County Circuit Court and the Virginia Court of Appeals erred by prohibiting two of Mr. Gardner’s witnesses from testifying to his good character.

He was freed following a hearing in Arlington County Circuit Court. His new trial is scheduled for February 2, 2015.

Other reasons Gardner was freed –

Gardner had no record of abuse, and the defense submitted 60 letters from family members, friends and business associates that detailed his character and his work in the Falls Church community. A lawyer and tax-software executive as well as a local civic activist, he is the husband of former Falls Church mayor Robin Gardner, who was serving on the City Council at the time of his trial and testified in her spouse’s defense. (The Washington Post)

Another girl came forward on sexual abuse charges but the case was later dropped. Prosecutors also revealed Gardner’s DNA as evidence in the girls’ pajamas and underwear.

Babysitter arrested for rape

Heriberto Urratia, 25, was arrested and charged by Fairfax County police last week for allegedly raping a 9-year-old girl. The young child also has a 6-year-old sister. According to news sources, Urratia babysat the girls for quite some time.

The tip-off came when the older girl started using inappropriate language most children at that age don’t use to their parents.

Urratia is held without bond. More on this story is in the video.