Letters in support of convicted Va. child molester draw outrage

Some Fall Church city leaders say they do not support the letters anymore since he plead guilty.

FALLS CHURCH, Va. (WUSA9) -- Falls Church residents are angry at several city leaders who wrote letters in support of a convicted child molester after his first conviction.

The leaders who wrote the letters now say they no longer support Michael Gardner after he pleaded guilty last month.

One of the people who wrote those letters is a city council member up for re-election and parents of the victims want anyone who supported Gardner out of office.

"It was scary, it was discouraging, it was painful," Kris Rice, whose daughter was one of the four girls molested by Gardner, said.

Commissioner of Revenue Thomas Clinton was one of the people who wrote letters. He said he no longer supports Gardner and would not resign.

READ THE LETTERS: Letters supporting Va. child molester spark outrage

"It really hurt out trust and confidence in city leaders," Rice said.

Phil Duncan hasn't apologized for his letter. He's a city council member and up for reelection November 3rd.

Duncan said his letter was about the question of whether Gardner could be reintroduced into society. At the time, he thought so, but he said he no longer believes that.

After Gardner's first conviction was tossed out, his niece came forward with similar allegations and during last month's trial, Gardner suddenly pleaded guilty to all charges.

His plea came right before the prosecution was about to play a secretly recorded phone call between Gardner's wife Robin Gardner, the former mayor of Falls Church, and her brother. In it, she acknowledges the abuse of her niece.

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