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Ex-Lawrence police officer arrested on suspicion of rape

Lawrence Police
Posted at 4:42 PM, Mar 04, 2022

LAWRENCE, Kan. — A former Lawrence police officer was arrested Friday on suspicion of rape and other counts after a woman said he sexually assaulted her while he was on-duty five years ago.

Jonathan Gardner, 41, of Tonganoxie, was arrested Friday morning at an intersection in Tonganoxie by Kansas Bureau of Investigation agents and Kansas Highway Patrol troopers, the KBI said in a news release.

Gardner is being held in the Leavenworth County Jail on $50,000 bond, the release said.

Gardner was placed on leave and his employment with the Lawrence Police Department ended following an investigation into the woman's report on Nov. 1 that Gardner had raped her on Jan. 1, 2017.

In addition to the rape count, Gardner faces 12 counts of unlawful acts concerning computers and 12 counts of official misconduct for reportedly conducting illegal and unauthorized searches of police computer databases between 2017 and 2020.

Lawrence Police Chief Rich Lockhart said in a written statement that his department acted quickly to investigate the allegation as soon as it was made.

"I am appalled by the alleged conduct of Gardner," Rich said. "Those alleged actions are not consistent with the values of the department and, if true, Gardner violated the trust of the community he was sworn to serve."

It was not clear Friday whether Gardner yet had an attorney. A publicly-listed phone number for Gardner could not be found Friday.