A former ROTC instructor at a high school in Klamath Falls is headed to prison for two years for sexually abusing one of his female students.
64 year old Kenneth Gardner entered his plea as the victim sat just a few feet away in the courtroom...
"Guilty, your honor."
A former ROTC instructor at Henley High School, Gardner was arrested by Oregon State Police in April of last year.
Klamath County District Attorney Rob Patridge explains: "This investigation came to light as the result of bad text messages being put across this young lady's phone."
"I got involved with what we called, what I called 'bedtime stories'." Kenneth Gardner noted during sentencing. "They were told in fiction, and not personal in any manner - but they did have a sexual theme."
Initially charged with multiple counts, Gardner plead 'guilty' to charges of second-degree sexual abuse, and luring a minor as part of a negotiated agreement.
"I engaged in inappropriate touching." Stated Gardner. "There was never any sexual intercourse. We hugged each other daily in a non-sexual way, however, I changed this to be sexual touching."
Family members of the victim made statements to the court, including the victim's mother...
"I honestly don't think that Kenneth Gardner nearly got what he deserved."
Gardner will be placed on three years of post-prison supervision, and must register as a sex offender.
Gardner's change of plea this afternoon came just a few days before his trial was scheduled to begin...Gardner's trial was scheduled to start on Wednesday of next week.