Child molestation suspect charged with attacking officers

CRANSTON, R.I. (WPRI) — A suspected child molester who was captured in an overnight manhunt after allegedly attacking two correctional officers has been held without bail.

According to Rhode Island State Police, Jesse Gabriau went to the ACI Monday night to get a new ankle monitor, after his battery wasn’t working.

At the time, Gabriau, 26, was on home confinement and awaiting trial on child molestation charges out of North Kingstown.

Police said correctional officer Joseph Gaulin smelled alcohol on Gabriau, a violation of his home confinement terms. He attempted to put Gabriau under arrest, but only got the handcuffs on one wrist before Gabriau fought back and ran out the door.

“Officer Gaulin grabbed the handcuff that was located on defendant Gabriau’s left hand and jumped on Gabriau’s back in an attempt to keep him from leaving the premises,” said Rhode Island State Police Cpl. Ron Longolucco at Gabriau’s arraignment Tuesday.

Police say Gabriau threw 61-year-old Gaulin to the ground and hit him over the head with the handcuffs, causing a head laceration that required stitches, according to Richard Ferruccio, president of the Rhode Island Brotherhood of Correctional Officers.

“I’ve been doing this for 32 years, that’s one of the worst shots I’ve seen somebody take on the head,” Ferruccio said.

Police say a second officer, Stephen Octeau, 52, attempted to wrestle Gabriau to the ground but was also assaulted by the suspect.

“Gabriau threw Officer Octeau onto the concrete ground,” said Cpl. Longolucco. His injuries were described as bruises and head trauma.

Both officers were taken to Rhode Island Hospital for treatment and have seen been released. Ferruccio said Gaulin has 35 years experience as a correctional officer, and Octeau has 31.


Police say Gabriau ran off with one handcuff on and got into a car with friends who had driven him to the ACI. According to state police, the car was located by police in Burrillville, but Gabriau was not in it.

After an hours-long manhunt by state police and ACI correctional officers, Gabriau was found at an apartment on Highland Avenue in West Warwick Tuesday morning.

Gabriau faces several felony and misdemeanor charges, including:

  • Two counts of assault or escape by a custodial unit inmate
  • Two counts of felony assault with dangerous weapon
  • Assault on a person over 60 causing serious bodily injury
  • Disorderly conduct
  • Resisting arrest

Loretta Biscoglio, 46, of West Warwick, was also arrested and was arraigned Tuesday on a charge of obstructing a police officer. Police said in court she lives in the apartment where Gabriau was hiding, and refused to open the door when police were searching for him. She was released on $1,500 surety bail.

Gabriau was arraigned Tuesday and given $75,000 surety bail on the new charges. He also had a bail hearing in Superior Court for his child molestation charges, where he was ordered held without bail.

Ferruccio said the union is in talks with the Department of Corrections to improve security and keep officers safe.

“The world’s changing, and we are going to take a hard look at what we can do to make it a little safer for our staff,” he said.

He said that could include arming officers. According to Ferruccio, Gaulin and Octeau did not have firearms, stun guns or nightsticks on them when they were allegedly attacked.

“All they had was a pair of handcuffs,” Ferruccio said.

Annie Shalvey contributed to this report. 

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