Convicted Pedophile Gardner Is Receiving Near Constant Providence Police Surveillance

Saturday, February 16, 2019


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Richard Gardner at his wedding in October of 2018, Photos: Reynaldo Almonte, Latino Public Radio

Providence Chief of Police Hugh Clements confirmed Friday that the Providence Police Department is watching convicted pedophile Richard Gardner.

"Yes we are still monitoring Gardner," said Clements on Friday afternoon. "Any further details [regarding costs], we'll have to get back to you [next] week."

According to police sources the surveillance is on a regular schedule and requires the assignment and payment of Providence Police detectives at a cost of more than $160 per four-hour shift.

Gardner was released from prison last October.

In 1988, Gardner kidnapped a boy in Warwick and sexually assaulted him on a ball field. That same day, he abducted a boy from a Warwick library and sexually assaulted him. Gardner, at the time of the two assaults, he was on bail awaiting sentencing in Massachusetts for kidnapping and raping another child in the woods.

Gardner was released from the Massachusetts prison system in October 2018 after serving nearly 30 years.

Upon release, he moved to a home in the Washington Park neighborhood of Providence and began living with a woman who he married within weeks.

Neighbors of the Providence neighborhood were outraged at Gardner’s release and him being allowed to live in the neighborhood.

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Gardner arrested by Cranston Police for parole violation in Nov. of 2018, The charges were later dismissed.

Elected officials for the Providence Spoke Out

State Representative Joe Almeida wrote in a MINDSETTER™ column in GoLocal, "As a father, I am concerned as anybody else would be, with the release of convicted child rapist Mr. Richard Gardner into our Providence community. I am working to ensure all of our residents know that he will be living here and the danger that he poses."

Almeida continued, "Gardner was convicted of sexually assaulting young boys in both Rhode Island and Massachusetts. This psychopath kidnapped children and molested them repeatedly. He was eventually caught and sent to prison. Gardner was then released in 2016 but incarcerated after he violated the terms of his parole.  Because of an egregious mistake made by the Massachusetts District Attorney, this deranged individual was released days ago."

In October Councilman Luis A. Aponte introduced an amendment to the Providence Code of Ordinances at the City Council meeting to codify restrictions for registered sex offenders residing in the City of Providence.   

The amendment calls for stronger restrictions for sex offenders who reside in the City of Providence.  It increases the distance sex offenders may reside from schools, daycares, and recreational areas from a 300-foot radius to a 500-foot radius. It also redefines the term “daycare” from a school with a certified pre-K program, to include all licensed daycare facilities that are clearly marked with at least one sign.  Registered sex offenders will also be prohibited from entering or loitering within a 500-foot radius of the premises of a school, daycare center, or recreational area. 

ACLU Has Raised Concerns

On a number of occasions, the RI ACLU and other groups have raised concerns about the treatment of Gardner as a parolee.  

The statement was jointly issued by Megan C. Smith, Homeless Bill of Rights Defense Committee; Barbara Freitas, R.I. Homeless Advocacy Project; Anne E. Voss-Altman, Public Defender for the City of Providence;  Andrew Horwitz, Assistant Dean for Experiential Education, Roger Williams U. School of Law; and Steven Brown, American Civil Liberties Union of Rhode Island.

“While we understand the concerns that have been raised by Washington Park residents about the presence of Richard Gardner in their neighborhood, the law is clear that Mr. Gardner has a right to live there.

The evidence is also clear: housing stability is one of the most effective ways to prevent recidivism. Moving ex-offenders around and putting up barriers to stable housing does nothing to protect public safety. To the contrary, such actions only make rehabilitation and oversight of offenders more difficult. Integrating ex-offenders into communities – rather than ostracizing them – is one of the best things neighbors and policymakers alike can do to promote prosocial behavior and thus public safety."

In November, Gardner was arrested by Cranston police for purportedly violating the terms of his probation; he was released from the ACI later in the month after charges were dismissed. 

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Gardner and now wife at the wedding


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