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Child Exploitation

Minnesota man sentenced to 5 years in prison for sexual abuse of minors

MINNEAPOLIS – A central Minnesota man was sentenced in federal court Wednesday to six years in federal prison for sexually abusing two minor boys. The sentence resulted from an investigation by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement's (ICE) Homeland Security Investigations (HSI), and U.S. Air Force's Office of Special Investigations.

Joshua Gardner, 29 of Isanti, Minn., was sentenced to 72 months in prison followed by three years of supervised release. Following Gardner's prison term, he must register as a sex offender as a condition of release.

Gardner pleaded guilty Jan. 5 to one count of abusive sexual contact of a child under the age of 12.

According to information presented at his plea hearing, between September 1997 and May 2002, Gardner sexually abused two boys under the age of 12 on Kadena Air Force Base in Okinawa, Japan. As a U.S. Air Force base, it was in the special maritime and territorial jurisdiction of the United States. At the time of the offenses, Gardner resided in Okinawa.

This investigation was part of Operation Predator, a nationwide HSI initiative to protect children from sexual predators, including those who travel overseas for sex with minors, Internet child pornographers, criminal alien sex offenders and child sex traffickers. HSI encourages the public to report suspected child predators and any suspicious activity through its toll-free hotline at 1-866-DHS-2ICE or by completing its online tip form. Both are staffed around the clock by investigators.

Suspected child sexual exploitation or missing children may be reported to the National Center for Missing & Exploited Children, an Operation Predator partner, at 1-800-843-5678 or http://www.cybertipline.com.