Residents in Providence, Rhode Island converged Wednesday night outside the home of a convicted child rapist who was recently released from jail, WJAR reported.
Richard Gardner, 51, was released from custody on Oct. 11, after serving 30 years for kidnapping and raping young boys in Massachusetts and Rhode Island.
Gardner's release stemmed largely from a clerical error made by prosecutors two years ago, when they failed to request he be civilly committed as a sexually dangerous person, which is an option to keep high risk offenders in custody.
When Gardner was released, he was ordered to report to his probation officer in Rhode Island, but nearby residents became angry when they learned this week that Gardner was living in the Washington Park area of Providence.
People outside Gardner's home Wednesday night could be heard shouting "we want him out."
Before heading to the home where Gardner is staying, the group of residents gathered at the Washington Park Community Center to discuss the issue with city officials.
One detective told the crowd, "I will be watching him like a hawk."
Another added that Gardner has the right to live wherever he wants as long as he is registered as a sex offender and doesn't live within 300 feet from a school.
“We cannot change this,” Maj. David Lapatin said. “The best thing we can do is be positive.”
The crowd wasn't satisfied with that advice from Maj. Lapatin, screaming, “You don’t live here -- we do.”
While a 1996 state law requires that communities be notified when sex offenders move into their area, Gardner’s conviction predates Megan's Law, which means his name and address are also not publicly listed on the state’s sex offender website.
Police will have increased patrols, with special overtime, just to watch Gardner, Maj. Lapatin said at the community meeting. He added there will be a heavy police presence on Halloween.
Councilman Luis Aponte said starting at 11 p.m. Wednesday, there will be a police detail watching Gardner at all times.