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A physical education teacher and coach at Central High School in Pageland with Lancaster County ties was arrested Thursday, Sept. 27, on charges he sexually abused two middle school students in Oconee County more than 10 years ago, according to officials.
Richard “Trey” Gardner III, 39, 302 E. Church St., Kershaw, is charged with 11 counts of criminal sexual conduct with a minor and 13 counts of lewd act on a minor, according to the Oconee County Sheriff’s Office. He was arrested at CHS and is now being held at the Oconee County Detention Center on $730,000 bond.
Two former students prompted a month-long investigation after claiming Gardner abused them between 1998 and 2003.
Gardner worked for the Oconee County School District as a teacher at Walhalla Middle School and wrestling coach at Walhalla High School from 1995-2005.
The Oconee County Sheriff’s Office said the victims alleged the acts occurred both at school and at Gardner’s home.
Oconee County authorities will only say the accusers were 12 and 14 years old at the time and it’s possible more people may come forward as the investigation continues.
Gardner has been placed on administrative leave by Chesterfield County School District. He had previously worked at New Heights Middle School in Pageland before transferring to CHS.
The Lancaster County Sheriff’s Office is assisting with the case.