Madison County Attorney Marc Robbins recused himself Wednesday from the prosecution of a Richmond man charged with first-degree rape, incest with a minor and three counts of first-degree sexual abuse against a victim under the age of 16.

Kendall Bryan Gardner, 43, was arrested May 12 following a month-long investigation by Richmond police, and a preliminary hearing was set for Wednesday morning in Madison District Court.

At that hearing, Robbins told Special Judge David Hayse that after consultation with Commonwealth’s Attorney David Smith’s office, he would not be representing the state for the duration of the case, and a new prosecutor would be taking over.

Robbins said Wednesday afternoon that he chose to recuse himself because he had a “former professional relationship of a confidential nature with the family” in the case.

“So to avoid the appearance of impropriety, we decided it was best if I stepped aside,” Robbins said.

The case was continued until May 27. Hayse agreed to reduce Gardner’s bond from $50,000 cash to $10,000 cash with the restrictions that Gardner be electronically monitored and have no contact with anyone under 16 years old.

Richmond Police Department Detective Eric Long obtained the arrest warrant against Gardner. Sgt. Willard Reardon, the department’s public affairs officer, declined to release any additional information about the case, citing privacy concerns.

Two adopted children have been removed from Gardner’s home following his arrest, Long said at the hearing. Gardner’s wife was in attendance at the hearing and his attorney, public defender Valetta Browne, said Gardner’s wife would possibly be able to post a partial bond.

Browne, in asking for the bond reduction, told Hayse that Gardner was the sole breadwinner for his family and works in Lexington.

Hayse asked Robbins for input on the reduction request, but Robbins declined, again citing the conflict of interest.

The commonwealth’s attorney’s office will present the case next week at the preliminary hearing, Robbins said.

Brian Smith may be reached at bsmith@richmondregister.com or at 624-6694.

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