Former prison guard pleads to assault charge

July 13, 2005|by DON AINES

CHAMBERSBURG, Pa. - A former Maryland prison guard whose child molestation trial ended in a hung jury last year pleaded no contest Monday in Franklin County Court to two counts of indecent assault.

David S. Ardinger, 39, formerly of Hagerstown and Mercersburg, Pa., will be sentenced at a later date, but the plea agreement calls for a jail sentence of 11 1/2 to 23 months, Assistant District Attorney Angela Krom said. Ardinger would also be on probation for eight years, she said.

Krom said Ardinger has served two years and four months in prison and would be paroled at the time of his sentencing. That does not mean, however, that he would be released from incarceration because he also is serving a sentence for similar crimes in Maryland, she said.


Ardinger, who had been a guard at the Maryland Correctional Institution, was tried in Franklin County in March 2004 on charges of involuntary deviate sexual intercourse, statutory sexual assault and indecent assault. According to court documents, Ardinger allegedly had sexual contact with an 11-year-old boy in the summer of 2000, although he was not charged until February 2002.

The Pennsylvania boy testified that the alleged assaults occurred while staying overnight at Ardinger's Mercersburg house. In one instance, the boy testified Ardinger was showing him a pornographic video, an accusation backed up by testimony from another boy also at the house.

Pennsylvania State Police charged Ardinger as a result of an investigation that began in Hagerstown involving a 10-year-old boy, according to court records. The Maryland boy testified for the prosecution in the Pennsylvania case.

In February, Ardinger was convicted by a jury in Washington County (Md.) Circuit Court of a third-degree sex offense and a second-degree sex offense in the Hagerstown case.

The boy told police that Ardinger fondled him while staying overnight at the boy's home in a public housing complex, according to charging documents.

In April, Ardinger was sentenced by Judge Frederick C. Wright III to five years in prison in the Maryland case and given two years and 64 days credit for time already served.

Krom said Ardinger was being held in Franklin County Prison for the purpose of the plea agreement and sentencing, but had been serving in a Maryland correctional institution and will be returned to Maryland to serve the rest of his sentence in that state.

Ardinger will not be sentenced until he has undergone an evaluation by the Pennsylvania Sexual Offenders Assessment Board, Krom said.

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