PROVIDENCE, R.I. (WPRI) — Residents in the Washington Park neighborhood are making their voices heard by continuing to rally outside the home of a convicted child rapist who recently moved there.
Plain-clothes officers are now stationed outside the home of Richard Gardner, who moved into the Washington Park neighborhood a few days ago. Providence Police Maj. David Lapatin said the detail is to protect the community and Gardner.
Gardner was released from prison in Massachusetts last week. He was convicted of sexually assaulting children in Warwick and Massachusetts in the late 80s.
Upon hearing he moved into their neighborhood, residents Wednesday night held a heated meeting at the Washington Park Community Center. The meeting ended abruptly, and a large crowd marched over to Gardner’s new residence. Police were also on hand to keep things under control.
A small crowd of residents returned Thursday, holding signs that read “We want him out!” and banging on empty water jugs outside his home. Protestors also purposefully set off their car alarms and drove by honking their car horns.
The crowd dispersed around 8 p.m., but plan to return to his house again on Friday at 6 p.m. to continue their protest.
NOW: Small group of protestors outside convicted child rapist Richard Gardner’s house in the Washington Park neighborhood of Providence. Police say they’ve been here since 6… will stay until 8. Story:https://t.co/IS718ndAia @wpri12 pic.twitter.com/58802GrYv0— Caroline Goggin (@CarolineGoggin) October 18, 2018
Lapatin said there are three conditions to Gardner’s probation; he has to register as a sex offender, he has to notify police if he plans to move from his current address and he can’t move within 300 feet of a school.
He also said because Gardner’s probation stems from a case in Rhode Island, he must serve his probation in the state.
Lapatin said because Gardner’s crimes pre-date Megan’s Law, Gardner is not classified as a Level III offender – meaning police can’t monitor him like they would others with that designation. They also can’t notify the community about his address.