Accused child rapist released again after judge denies secure bail request

Suspect released after repeat violation of conditions of release charge

By Guy Page

In a Bennington County courthouse Wednesday, Vermont’s bail laws came to the defense of an accused child rapist who was facing the possibility of putting up security for bail after police say he had violated his conditions of release three times. 

Jonathan Gardner

Jonathan Gardner, 35, of Pownal has violated his conditions of release (COR) at least three times since his arrest last month for alleged child sex assault of a child under 10 years old, police say. He was released on $200 bail Wednesday after his third COR violations hearing.

Gardner appeared in Bennington Superior Court Wednesday to face the third Conditions of Release (COR) violation since his mid-September arrest. According to a Wednesday afternoon Bennington Banner media report, the prosecutor asked Judge Kerry McDonald-Cady to change the original $5000 bail for the child sex assault charge from unsecured bail (no seizure of property or funds for skipping bail) to a secured bail (security required). 

No can do, Gardner’s lawyer advised the judge. Vermont state law requires written notice for imposing secured bail. Case law gives the defense 48 hours to respond, and “We want our 48 hours,” the lawyer told the judge, Banner report states. 

The judge, who had been leaning towards secured bail, then declined to impose security for the sex assault bail and instead imposed only $200 bail for violating conditions of release. Gardner was released. 

Gardner’s arrest-and-release record

Gardner’s journey in and out of law enforcement custody began on September 14, when 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 Gardner.

Gardner was arrested and originally held without bail – however he was released on $50,000 bail and conditions after his arraignment. Several days later, 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.

On October 11, Gardner was arrested on a warrant for further violations of his conditions of release. That arrest led to the court proceedings described above.

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Categories: Crime

9 replies »

  1. Catch and release . . . catch and release . . . catch and release . . . and the drumbeat of “justice” goes on.

  2. Don’t the courts realize the emotional trust damage this perpetrator is releasing upon children???

  3. The parents of the children who are harmed by this person need to SUE THAT JUDGE!

  4. Isn’t it comforting to know our tax dollars pay for a turnstyle justice sytem that allows predators to roam the streets with no consequences for their crimes against children? Decades of failure to protect children is a society and a culture as sick as the perpetrators. Pervmont[sic] indeed!

  5. One of the intended purposes of the law is to protect the accused from an inflamed populous. If the people at large don’t believe that justice will be done are we in danger of incubating vigilantly justice that the law was intended to stifle?