Angry neighbors and parents in a Weymouth, Massachusetts, neighborhood are not backing down from their assertion that a Level 3 sex offender should not have had the right to move back into his home after his release from prison last week.
"I don’t want him here, he’s not welcome here,” said mother Amanda Hill.
“To put him in a community where there’s so many children, that just seems irresponsible,” said concerned neighbor, Coreen Aikens.
Richard Gardner was convicted of and later admitted to kidnapping and raping several boys in the 1980s.
He served nearly three decades in prison after his original sentence of 190 years was reduced.
“The person does have a right to act within the community so long as they’re acting lawfully,” necn Legal Editor Randy Chapman said.
But Gardner did find himself in trouble with police at least twice in the first week he’s been out of jail.
On Saturday morning, he was thrown out of the Quincy Library and issued a citation for violating a local ordinance that requires sex offenders to get permission to visit libraries, schools, day cares, or similar locations.
And Saturday evening, he was thrown out of Father Bill’s homeless shelter in Quincy and given a trespass warning.
“The police will not allow the Level 3 sex offenders to register at our shelter address because of the proximity of the Quincy High School,” said Father Bill’s President and CEO John Yazwinski.
Chapman says it becomes a difficult balancing act for police, who in this case are fielding constant complaints.
“Very hard for public officials to strike the balance to keep an eye on somebody but to not be so intrusive as to not allow them to actually reincorporate into society,” said Chapman.
Probation officials confirm Gardner is properly registered as a sex offender and is not required to wear a GPS monitoring bracelet, but Gardner’s neighbors have started a petition to change that.
“I think our constitutional rights should surpass the rights of a convicted level 3 child rapist and abductor,” Hill said.
The Sex Offender Registry Board and local police confirm that if Gardner is trying to stay in a shelter instead of his parents’ home in Weymouth, he would need to immediately re-register with the local police department, or he would be violating the law and the terms of his probation, and he could be arrested.
Gardner is on probation until 2043, but he must register as a Level 3 sex offender for life.