14-year-old sexually assaulted by man with knife in Fort Lauderdale

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Fort Lauderdale, FL – Police in Fort Lauderdale have announced an arrest of a man who attacked a 14-year-old girl in a backyard at knifepoint on Tuesday.

The incident occurred at 1048 Northeast 3rd Avenue in the City of Fort Lauderdale.

According to the Fort Lauderdale Police Department, a preliminary investigation revealed that the victim, a 14-year-old female, was walking to the incident location with her friend.

“The victim and her friend were followed by an unknown male suspect into the backyard area of the location. While in the backyard, the victim and her friend were startled at the sight of the suspect and advised him he could not be there and that he needed to leave. The suspect agreed to leave,” police said. “Believing that the suspect was in the process of leaving, the victim’s friend walked away to try and find a way to safely get back inside the residence. The suspect, taking advantage of having the victim alone, displayed a knife and threatened the victim before sexually assaulting her.”

After the assault, the suspect fled the scene. The victim sustained minor injuries as a result of the struggle.
The suspect was located a short distance away by a Broward Sheriff’s Office deputy who was nearby. The suspect attempted to flee from police, however, was later successfully apprehended without further incident. At the time of arrest, the suspect was still in possession of the knife used during the crime. During his interview with the Special Victims Unit, the suspect confessed to engaging in sex acts with the victim.

The suspect has been identified as John Gardner, a resident of the City of Fort Lauderdale. Gardner has been charged with armed sexual battery, lewd and lascivious molestation, resisting without violence, violation of probation, and an outstanding warrant.