Neighbors demand sex offender with RI ties be GPS tracked

Richard Gardner. (Massachusetts Sex Offender Registry)
Richard Gardner. (Massachusetts Sex Offender Registry)

WEYMOUTH, Mass. (WPRI) — Neighbors are up in arms after a level III convicted sex offender with ties to Rhode Island was recently released, and is being cited for violating a city ordinance related to offenders.

Richard Gardner, 49, was convicted in 1989 for kidnapping and raping two Warwick boys, as well as kidnapping a Providence boy, according to Providence Journal articles from that time. The charges were kidnapping, burglary, first-degree child molestation, second-degree child molestation, felony assault with a dangerous weapon, possession of a stolen motor vehicle, eluding police, possession of a weapon that was not a firearm, and assault and battery.

Richard Gardner, pictured in a WPRI-TV interview from 1993.
Richard Gardner, pictured in a WPRI-TV interview from 1993.

His sentence totaled some 190 years, but he appealed in 2003, according to the Rhode Island Judiciary’s website, and the sentence was massively reduced.

He was released on parole earlier this year, having served 28 years behind bars, and he moved back in with his parents in Weymouth, Mass. On October 6, Quincy Police sent out notifications of his new address.

Days later, Quincy Police said Gardner entered a library and used a computer without getting permission from officials. Sex offenders are forbidden from going to libraries or schools without prior approval under a Quincy city ordinance.

He has been summonsed to court, but police say he’s not wanted on any new criminal charges.

Neighbors are now getting ready to petition Gov. Charlie Baker, demanding Gardner be fitted with a GPS tracking device “until he is off probation,” according to Amanda Hill, who mounted the online petition. As of Wednesday afternoon, 4,097 people had signed the petition.

Another neighbor, Coreen Aikens, told WBZ-TV she was complaining to everyone she could think of: “We contacted the DA of Rhode Island. We contacted the DA of Mass. We’ve contacted both parole boards. We contacted Warwick police, Weymouth police, Quincy police. We’ve contacted basically anyone that would hear us.”

In the past few weeks, police have been called to the Gardner home more than once. One of those times, someone had thrown a rock through the home’s front window.