Protesters gather outside home of convicted child rapist Richard Gardner

By News Staff

Email: news@abc6.com

Twitter: @ABC6

PROVIDENCE, R.I. (WLNE) – An angry retaliation from protestors Saturday night after Patricia Gardner held a vigil in support of her husband, notorious child rapist Richard Gardner, at their Providence home.

“We weren’t out here five minutes and they were out here ripping our signs from our hands, breaking our candles and throwing them on the ground”, said Gardner.

The torn-up signs littered the street and sidewalk outside the home as Gardner told ABC6 that her husband has changed.

“The same parents that are out here threatening us, calling us names, are the same parents that are going to go in and tuck their children into bed tonight and tell them ‘don’t bully Suzy tomorrow, don’t bully’.”

To the protestors, Richard Gardner is the bully.

Gardner served thirty years for kidnapping and brutally raping children in Rhode Island and Massachusetts during the 1980s.

Days after he was released from jail in 2016 on a technicality, Gardner was sent back to prison in Massachusetts for violating his probation when he visited a public library.

In October, Gardner was released and moved to Washington Park in Providence.

Protests have been going on ever since, with many Washington Park residents wanting Richard Gardner out.

“This is about a quality of life issue”, said State Representative Joe Almeida, who represents the Washington Park neighborhood. “And the quality of life has been destroyed since Mr. Gardner moved in. So that’s why people are upset.”

Almeida is drafting a bill that expands on an ordinance introduced to the City Council last month.

The bill would prohibit a sex offender from living within 500 feet of certain areas where children frequent, instead of the current 300 feet.

“Let it be known Washington Park will be here, and we’re not going away”, he said.

A meeting to address Gardner’s return to the community is scheduled to be held at the Washington Park Community Center Wednesday at 6:00 p.m.

©WLNE-TV / ABC6 2018