LINCOLN, R.I. (WPRI) — Residents in a Lincoln neighborhood made it clear Wednesday night that they’re enraged about convicted child rapist Richard Gardner’s relocation to the area.
Gardner, 53, who was convicted of sexually assaulting children in Warwick and Massachusetts in the late 1980s, was released from prison last October.
His presence sparked protests last year when he moved to Providence’s Washington Park neighborhood — and also led to at least two cases of vandalism. Gardner briefly resided in Cranston before relocating to Lincoln last week.
Since Gardner’s case pre-dates Megan’s Law, police are not permitted to notify the community or publicly disclose his address, and that lack of notification isn’t sitting well with those who live nearby.
Residents gathered outside his new address Wednesday to protest his latest relocation. Most residents held up signs and chanted “Gardner’s gotta go!” in the direction of his new home.
“Mr. Gardner has made all the families uncomfortable,” Neighbor Linda Rampone said. “He’s made the children nervous. Some of them don’t sleep — we’ve had children vomiting at night. I mean, it’s ridiculous.”
Serena Guibeau, who lives in the neighborhood Gardner moved to, said she’s concerned for the safety of her two sons.
She held a sign Wednesday night that read: “Gardner robbed my family’s safety and security. We have to change the law!”
“They still play outside and ride their bike and play basketball,” she said. “This is no longer going to happen because he can look out his window at my children. That is not OK.”
Eyewitness News reached out to the Rhode Island chapter of the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) about the situation, but they were unavailable for comment.