Convicted rapist released 7 years early

PROVIDENCE, R.I. (WPRI) – A convicted rapist who had been locked up in high-security prison for 23 years was released on good behavior on Thursday, seven years before his initial sentence was set to expire.

Raymond Buxton, 54, was convicted of raping a woman back in 1987. Court records said Buxton picked up a stranger in Providence, drove her to Johnston and raped her twice before the woman managed to escape. The interior door handles of Buxton’s car were removed, according to reports, and the woman told police Buxton wondered aloud, “I don’t know if I should kill you or what.”

Buxton was sentenced to serve 30 years in high-security prison, where correctional officers said they found his behavior concerning. Officers said Buxton had issues with his emotional and mental stability, and prison records show he was accused in 1999 of raping a cellmate. Those charges were ultimately dismissed.

“He was a problem child here,” Richard Ferruccio, the president of the Rhode Island Brotherhood of Correctional Officers, told Eyewitness News. “He was a part of a security group risk we have. We determined he proposed a risk to our institution.”

Despite his alleged behavior issues, though, Buxton participated in specific programs that earned him “good time” credit, such as taking academic classes and working as an inmate porter. So, although though he was denied parole on four separate occasions during his 23 years in prison, Rhode Island’s “good time” laws made it possible for the longtime prisoner to leave the high-security jail cell seven years early.

The state’s “good time” laws have since been changed, and R.I. Attorney General Peter F. Kilmartin’s office said on Friday that Buxton would not have been eligible for early release “if his crime [were] committed today.”

As The Providence Journal first reported on Friday, Buxton was convicted of his crime in 1991, five years before Rhode Island passed its version of Megan’s Laws, which means he will not need to register as a sex offender. Buxton will be on probation for the next 20 years, but Ferruccio said he is free to live in any community he’d like.

“He could be living anywhere,” Ferruccio said. “We don’t know where he is now, and hopefully he’s not going to pose a threat to the community… but his history is one that should be of concern.”

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