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Suspended term given to man for child abuse

A Montgomery County man was given a three-year suspended prison sentence after entering a plea agreement for charges of child abuse and fourth-degree sexual offense in North Laurel.

Donald Roland Gardner, 61, of Takoma Park, was accused of fondling a 7-year-old girl in the North Laurel home of a family friend in November 1991.

As part of the agreement entered before Howard Circuit Judge James B. Dudley on Wednesday, Gardner did not admit guilt but acknowledged prosecutors had enough evidence to convict him.

Judge Dudley sentenced Gardner to a three-year prison sentence, but suspended the sentence except for the 69 days he served while awaiting trial.

The judge ordered Gardner to complete three years of probation and receive counseling. The defendant also was ordered to avoid contact with the victim.

The prosecution, meanwhile, put additional charges of third-degree sexual offense, assault, battery, and perverted sexual practice on the court's inactive docket, meaning the charges will disappear from Gardner's record in three years if he commits no other crimes.


* Savage: 9300 block of Sombersby Court: Between Tuesday and Wednesday, someone stole a white 1991 Chevrolet Blazer. The Maryland plates are 408556.

* North Laurel: 9500 block of Canterbury Riding: On Tuesday, a man reported he lent his 1980 jeep to a man. The man has a suspended driver's license and is wanted in several jurisdictions. The Maryland plates are 425848M.

* 9300 block of Northgate Road: On Wednesday, a suspect pried open a door to a home and took jewelry and a handgun.

* 9200 block of Gold Dust Court: On Wednesday, someone smashed a window, but nothing was taken. The suspect placed a taped box over the window to cover the hole.

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