Sex offender ordered back to prison for violating probation

Photo: Sex Offender Registry
Photo: Sex Offender Registry

WARWICK, R.I. (WPRI) – Less than three months after being released from prison, a judge sentenced convicted sex offender Richard Gardner to another year behind bars.

Gardner appeared in Kent County Superior Court Friday morning where he admitted to violating the terms of his probation; about a month ago, police in Quincy, Mass., said he had been caught in a public library using a computer. Quincy city ordinances prohibit convicted sex offenders from going to libraries or schools without prior approval. In a court appearance shortly after his arrest, his attorney argued that the terms of Gardner’s probation were not made clear and were too broad.

The incident came just days after Gardner was released on Oct. 3 after serving 28 years in prison for sexually assaulting a Massachusetts boy, two Warwick boys and kidnapping a Providence boy. Gardner’s case dates back to 1989, when he was convicted of the crimes and sentenced to 109 years behind bars. That conviction was overturned in 1993 and sent back to Superior Court, where Gardner pleaded guilty and received a 20 year prison sentence, plus 30 years probation.

Friday, a Superior Court judge ordered Gardner to serve one year at the ACI in Cranston and a 29-year suspended sentence. Gardner was also ordered to stay away from places frequented by children through 2038.

Thomas Shearman, a victim of Gardner’s who testified against him when he was just 10 years old, issued a statement to Eyewitness News following Friday’s sentencing:

“I’m disgusted by how the system has let us down again! Mark my words, better yet, mark your calendars, when he is released a year from now, keep your children inside and keep them safe, because he will do it again! This man cannot be rehabilitated in a jail! He proved that when he was released in Quincy! Whose unlucky child is going to have to suffer to keep him locked up where he belongs?! Because we as victims are powerless!”