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The Undoing of Scoob

CNN reports on the fall of the “Earl of Scooby.”

A convicted sex offender who tried to pass himself off as a teenage member of English nobility says he just wanted some respect, until some high school journalists uncovered his past.

 

Joshua Adam Gardner, 22, visited Stillwater Area High School three times in December and January, posing as “Caspian James Crichton-Stuart IV, the Fifth Duke of Cleveland” and telling students he was 17 and was interested in attending the school.

 

He also claimed to be 27th in line for the British throne.

 

“Becoming ‘Caspian,’ I was given respect,” Gardner said in a jailhouse interview broadcast Monday on NBC. “And people … don’t look at you in that way that they would look at a sex offender.”

 

“I didn’t mean to hurt anybody,” he said.

 

Reporters at the Stillwater school newspaper, the Pony Express, thought “Caspian’s” story would be an interesting feature.

 

“He was demanding that we call him ‘Your Grace,”‘ said Chantel Leonhart, one of the paper’s managing editors. “He even demanded that the principal call him ‘Your Grace.”‘

 

The reporters’ research turned up an entry for “Earl of Scooby” at the youth Web site Myspace.com, where “Caspian” said he was British and that his goal for the year was “To not make the front page of any paper.”


However, his description of his British lineage didn’t ring true to co-editor in chief Matt Murphy. Plus, he couldn’t spell the name of the castle he claimed was his home, and the British consulate in Chicago told them there was no such title as the Duke of Cleveland.

 

More research led the students to Web sites linking the pseudonym to Gardner’s real name and to a Florida state registry of sex offenders.

In other words, he probably would have gotten away with it, if it hadn’t been for some meddling kids.

 

Update: Then again, the “Earl of Scooby” does not seem like the sharpest tool in the shed (although he is clearly a tool), so he probably would have become unstuck anyway:

The student reporters learned that Gardner was convicted in 2003 of criminal sexual conduct in Winona County, in southeastern Minnesota, for having sex with his underage girlfriend two years earlier. The girl was 14 and Gardner was 18. He was put on probation and had apparently been living lately in Stillwater.

 

Minnesota had informed Florida of his sex offense record because he had moved to that state at one point, Minnesota Department of Corrections spokeswoman Liz McClung said.

 

Gardner said he didn’t know that their age difference made having sex with the girl illegal.

The age difference has nothing to do with it. The girl’s age is the issue.

About the author

Picture of David Lange

David Lange

A law school graduate, David Lange transitioned from work in the oil and hi-tech industries into fulltime Israel advocacy. He is a respected commentator and Middle East analyst who has often been cited by the mainstream media
Picture of David Lange

David Lange

A law school graduate, David Lange transitioned from work in the oil and hi-tech industries into fulltime Israel advocacy. He is a respected commentator and Middle East analyst who has often been cited by the mainstream media
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