A former Lawrence police officer was found not guilty of rape and about 34 other counts by a Douglas County District Court jury, court records show.
Jonathan Gardner, 41, of Tonganoxie, was charged with raping a woman while on duty with the Lawrence Police Department in January 2017. A jury found him not guilty on Friday of charges of rape, unlawful acts involving computers and official misconduct, according to court records. .
Lawrence police contacted the Kansas Bureau of Investigation on November 1, 2022 after a woman alleged Gardner sexually assaulted her in 2017.
The 41-year-old has been placed on administrative leave ahead of his next shift, the Lawrence Police Department told The Star in a previous report.
During KBI and Lawrence’s police investigation, they found that Gardner had committed policy violations and misconduct. His employment with the ministry ended shortly thereafter.
Gardner was charged with performing unauthorized searches of the Kansas Criminal Justice Information System and internal police department public safety systems between 2017 and 2020.
Lawrence Police Chief Rich Lockhart said he was “appalled by Gardner’s alleged conduct,” in a March 2022 statement.
“These alleged actions are inconsistent with departmental values and, if true, Gardner violated the trust of the community he was sworn to serve,” he said.
KBI officers arrested Gardner on March 4, 2022. He was taken to Leavenworth County Jail and released the same day after posting $50,000 bond, according to jail records.
His jury trial lasted five days, beginning May 22, 2023. He was found not guilty on one count of rape, 17 counts of official misconduct and 17 counts of computer unlawful acts, court records show. .