Convicted sex offender charged with raping 14-year-old girl - WMC Action News 5 - Memphis, Tennessee

Convicted sex offender charged with raping 14-year-old girl

By Jason Miles - bio | email

Memphis police say a 14-year-old girl was raped on the floor by an attacker who crept into her home in the middle of the night.

Nicholas Gardner, 34, was arrested Tuesday on multiple charges that include aggravated rape. 

"He's a violent sexual offender," said Lt. Wilton Cleveland of the MPD's sex crimes bureau.

Details of the attack are very graphic. According to arrest papers, Gardner "gripped the victim's jaws tightly together so she could not yell."
    
Cleveland says violent offenders are required to register quarterly. Gardner, who was convicted of a sex crime in 1997, failed to report four times in the last year.
    
Police took out multiple warrants for Gardner's arrest, but were unable to track him down.  

"We are aggressively pursuing sex offenders that are in violation," Cleveland said.
     
He says the problem is that most suspects usually know when they're being sought by police, "and a lot of these guys are transient between friends and family, and they know the system and try to avoid us."
     
A vandalism case finally led police to Gardner this week, but only after the violent attack.

"Now, a child is completely ruined," said neighbor Marsha Mosby, who lives just a few doors down on the quiet street and has four children of her own. "It's ridiculous. It's terrible. The kid loses and it's sad."

Gardner is currently being held on a $300,000 bond. 

In addition to rape, he's charged with violating his probation and the sex offender registry act.    

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