Convicted rapist to be returned to RI to face probation violation charge

Photo: Sex Offender Registry
Photo: Sex Offender Registry

BOSTON (WPRI) — A convicted sex offender whose recent release from prison sparked outrage in a Massachusetts city will be extradited back to Rhode Island to face a probation violation charge.

The Suffolk County District Attorney’s office said Richard Gardner, 49, waived extradition to Rhode Island and was ordered held without bail during a court appearance Monday.

Gardner was arrested Friday in Boston as a fugitive from justice. Rhode Island authorities issued a warrant for his arrest after learning Gardner entered a library in Quincy, which is a violation of his probation.

Gardner was first convicted in 1989 for kidnapping and raping two Warwick boys, as well as kidnapping a Providence boy.

According to the Rhode Island Attorney General’s office, he appealed that conviction and the judgment was vacated. But in 1993, Gardner pleaded guilty in the case and received a 50-year sentence, with 20 to serve and 30 suspended on probation. One of the conditions of his probation was to not have contact with children and to stay away from places where children frequent – like schools and libraries.

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

Gardner was released from prison in Rhode Island in 2004, but then had to serve a prison sentence in Massachusetts on similar charges. He was released from a Massachusetts facility on Oct. 3 of this year and he moved back in with his parents in Weymouth, Mass.

On Oct. 3 of this year, Gardner was released from a Massachusetts facility and he moved back in with his parents in Weymouth, Mass.

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.

Upon hearing that Gardner was accused of entering the library, Rhode Island authorities issued a warrant for his arrest.

Weymouth residents started a petition to 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 Monday afternoon, 4,433 people had signed the petition.

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