Child sex assault suspect released, approaches victim – and gets released again

Goddard College burglary tied to drug crime

A 35-year-old Pownal man arrested this month for alleged child sex assault was released, then arrested for violating his conditions of release by approaching the victim’s home – and then was released again. 

On September 14, authorities say they began an investigation concerning an alleged child sex assault.

A child under 10 years of age was brought to Southern Vermont Medical Center and was examined after they claimed they were sexually assaulted by Jonathan Gardner, of North Pownal.

Following an investigation, police say they learned information leading to the arrest yesterday.

Gardner was originally held without bail however he was released on $50,000 bail and conditions after his arraignment. Yesterday, he was arrested by troopers for violating his conditions of release by being within 300 feet of the victim’s residence.

He was cited for a later date and released on conditions imposed by Bennington County Criminal Court.

On September 25, it was reported to the Vermont State Police that Gardner had violated his conditions again. It was found that Gardner harassed the victim and family members on two occasions, once on September 25 and once on September 26 causing fear with the victim’s family.

Gardner turned himself in to the Shaftsbury barracks September 26 at around 12:00 p.m. He was arrested for violating his conditions of release x2 in addition to aggravated stalking. He was processed and released on conditions by the Bennington County Criminal Court.

Goddard College burglaries link to drug crime – On September 19, state police executed a search warrant at an apartment in Randolph. The purpose of this warrant was to look for stolen property as part of the investigation into the burglary that occurred at Goddard College on September 3. Olaf Hedding Sr. has been charged in connection with the burglary.

State police say that during the Randolph raid, Kaeleigh Demers (who had an active arrest warrant) attempted to flee the scene and then lied to law enforcement. After being apprehended, she was brought to the hospital for treatment of injuries she sustained while attempting to flee. She was later cited for Resisting Arrest and Providing False Information to Police.

During the search of the residence, Troopers located some of the stolen property from the Goddard College Burglary. Troopers also located about 67 bags of suspected heroin, a substantial amount of suspected cocaine, and various paraphernalia consistent with drug use/distribution. Troopers learned that Corey Couture of Randolph was responsible for the drugs and stolen property. Couture’s whereabouts are unknown at this time, and anyone with knowledge of his whereabouts should contact Trooper Lambert at the Berlin Barracks (802)229-9191.

Beware State Police scam calls – The Vermont State Police is warning the public about recent scam calls in which the caller pretends to be a VSP commander or trooper.

Reports to the state police indicate the imposter tells the recipient of the call that he or she is subject to a pending legal matter.

If leaving a message, the scammer provides a number for the recipient to call back.

These calls are not originating with the Vermont State Police.

If anyone receives such a call, they should hang up or not call back at the number provided, and instead telephone their local VSP barracks to confirm the authenticity of the message.

A list of all VSP stations and their contact information is available at this link on the state police website.

VSP reminds the public never to give out personal information or to pay money, obtain gift cards or money orders, etc., in response to unknown or suspicious callers.

Categories: Crime

8 replies »

  1. The Bennington judge needs to be accountable/ prosecuted for letting Gardner go (again ) if he violates the order AGAIN or assults another child . This judge is basically saying” no , no , no, dont do it again or you’ll get a slap on the hand again “

  2. In the evil society that we have become, victims are bad. Perpetrators are good. There will come a time that good must triumph over evil. Whatever the cost.

  3. Absolutely outrageous. What in the hell are we doing paying this moronic judge! Who is in charge of him being employed?

  4. January 2006: “Republican Gov. James Douglas said Thursday the judge should consider resigning. He condemned the 60-day sentence as insensitive to the victim and her family. “When a grown man rapes a small child, justice is only served when the criminal is behind bars — for a long time — paying for his inexcusable crime,” the governor said.”

    The evil deviants of Pervmont[sic] are not necessarily the ones prowling on the streets. They hold high positions, married to high positions, related to high positions, and they all profit from the sick, twisted, predatory behaviors plaguing the State. Decades of this rotten, corrupted justice and government system and people just ignore it. Wake up people!