Students Use Web to Unmask Sex Offender

Thursday, January 12th 2006, 10:02 am
By: News On 6

OAK PARK HEIGHTS, Minnesota (AP) _ He posed as a prospective student and tried to pass himself off as a member of a royal family from Europe _ until some student journalists uncovered his past.

The 22-year-old man told students he was 17 and that he was ``Caspian James Chrichton Stuart IV,'' the ``Fifth Duke of Cleveland.''

``He was pretty quiet. But he seemed to talk with a little bit of an accent,'' sophomore Frank Carlson told KARE-TV for a story that aired Wednesday night.

At the school newspaper, reporters thought that if ``Caspian's'' story were true, it would make an interesting feature. Their research led them to a page on the youth Web site for the ``Earl of Scooby,'' where ``Caspian'' said he was British and that his goal for the year was ``To not make the front page of any paper.''

But the student journalists eventually found ``Caspian'' on another Web site _ for Florida's registry of sex offenders. It turned out that he was Joshua Adam Gardner, who was convicted of fourth-degree criminal sexual conduct in Winona County of Minnesota in 2003, KARE reported.