A Chauncey man was sentenced to 10 years in prison for first-degree felony rape in Athens County Common Pleas Court on Tuesday.

Richard P. Gardner, 56, formerly of Converse Street in Chauncey, was indicted on two counts of rape after sexually assaulting a 5-year-old.

Gardner had been employed as a bus driver in Perry County, though Assistant Prosecutor Elizabeth Pepper has said that the victim in the case was not a student in Perry County and is from Athens.

Gardner was indicted in October 2016 on allegations that on Feb. 21, 2016, Gardner unlawfully engaged in sexual conduct with the victim, who was 5 at the time of the assault. 

After Gardner was indicted by an Athens County Grand Jury, a nationwide arrest warrant was issued. He was apprehended by Perry County Sheriff’s deputies, and met Athens County Sheriff’s deputies at the county line on Oct. 27, 2016.

On Tuesday, Athens County Common Pleas Judge George P. McCarthy accepted a guilty plea from Gardner to one count of first-degree felony rape.

McCarthy sentenced Gardner to a mandatory term of 10 years in prison, according to a release from the county Prosecutor’s Office. Gardner also will be subject to five years of post-release control upon his release from prison, as well as registration as a Tier III sex offender, which requires registration every 90 days for life, the release said.

This case was investigated by the Athens County Sheriff’s Office and Athens County Children Services, according to the release.

Load comments