Neighborhood protests against child rapist reach Day Five

PROVIDENCE, R.I. (WLNE) – For the fifth night in a row, protestors camped outside Richard Gardner’s home, loudly urging the child rapist to move out.

More than a dozen people shouted and banged on pots for about two hours Sunday night – and it wasn’t just Washington Park residents.

“You think you or anybody else would want this guy living next to you or your kids or your schools?” asked Joe Leddy. He grew up in Washington Park and although he lives in East Providence now, he’s joined in on the fight, picketing since Gardner moved there just over a week ago.

“Just harass this guy as much as we can to get him out of here,” Leddy told ABC6 News.

Rachel Benoit of Woonsocket has spent the past five nights shouting on Gardner’s street.

“One of these victims was a Warwick child – where’s Warwick,” she questioned. “I’m sorry but this is Rhode Island, this isn’t just Washington Park and we need more supporters.”

Gardner did 30 years in prison for kidnapping and brutally raping children in Rhode Island and Massachusetts in the 1980s. Then, days after he was released in 2016 on a technicality, he was sent back to prison in Massachusetts for violating his probation when he visited a public library.

Gardner got married Saturday and now there is more concern he is spreading his roots in the neighborhood.

“It’ll be ten days and it’ll be 15 days and I’ll be out here with hot cocoa in January,” said Benoit. “I don’t care what happens – I’m going to be all up in his business.”

Protestors tell us they are not giving up, planning to picket day and night. They’ve even put together a Facebook page, hoping to encourage more people to join in.

The Rhode Island ACLU sent Mayor Elorza (D) a letter Saturday, saying while the organization supports the right to protest peacefully, those people are violating a city ordinance that bans targeted residential picketing. The organization suggested the ordinance be repealed to avoid selective enforcement.

© WLNE-TV 2018