Victim of Richard Gardner speaks out, warns public

PROVIDENCE, R.I. (WPRI) — A man is speaking out after a level 3 sex offender has been released from prison after serving 28 years.

Thomas Shearman was shocked to hear that Richard Gardner was released from prison because he played a part in putting the child rapist behind bars for the original sentence of 190 years.

At the age of 10, Shearman testified in court against Gardner as one of his victims.

Now living in North Carolina, Shearman logged on to a few days ago to check up on his hometown and saw news of Gardner’s violated probation.

“I dropped my phone. I broke my phone. I couldn’t believe this guy was out walking the street,” he said in a Skype interview with Eyewitness News.

“He kidnapped me, brought me to the woods, raped me,” said Shearman.

In 1989, Gardner was convicted of sexually assaulting a Massachusetts boy, two Warwick boys and kidnapping another boy from Providence. In 1993, after an appeal from Gardner, the conviction was thrown out and sent back to Superior Court where he pleaded guilty and his sentence was reduced to 20 years behind bars and 30 years probation.

Last week, just days after Gardner’s release, Quincy Police said he violated his probation by entering a library and used a computer without getting permission from officials.

This brings up bad memories for Shearman. “I have to relive this nightmare. I’ve been sentenced to life with this, why shouldn’t he?”

Shearman hoped that speaking out will help warn the public.

Gardner will be held without bail until his next hearing on November 1. His attorneys have argued that the terms of his probation are too broad.