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SPRINGVILLE, Utah (AP) -- A former two-time Utah County Commissioner whose political career ended after a pair of drunken driving arrests is facing new legal troubles.
David J. Gardner was charged in 4th District Court Friday with class A misdemeanor sexual battery for the alleged fondling of a 26-year-old Payson woman.
A court appearance is scheduled for June 25 in Spanish Fork. Prosecutors allege Gardner grabbed the woman, rubbed parts of her body, kissed her and made other sexual advances during a car ride.
Adam Ford, an attorney for the woman, said the assault was so upsetting that his client spent a week in the psychological unit of a hospital.
Gardner has worked as a licensed marriage and family therapist, although the Utah Division of Occupational and Professional Licensing placed him on probation in 2002 for unprofessional conduct.
As a commissioner, Gardner was arrested in 1999 after running his car off the road and trying to put out a resulting grass fire with his feet. He claimed to have only sipped an alcoholic drink from a hitchhiker he picked up, but tests showed Gardner's blood-alcohol level was at or above the legal limit.
A DUI charge was dismissed for a legal technicality. In 2000 Gardner pleaded guilty to charges of DUI, theft and driving with an open container. He spent two days on work detail for the county jail, paid a fine and served probation. That same year, he was charged with disorderly conduct for allegedly roughing up a 9-year-old boy in a squabble over a broken flashlight.
Information from: Deseret Morning News,
(Copyright 2007 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)