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RI: City Officials Stoke Mob Mentality in Front of Sex Offender’s Home

When _____ _____ , a convicted child sex offender, was released from prison after serving almost 30 years, he quietly moved into the Washington Park neighborhood in Providence. One would not have expected a welcome wagon — but an angry mob should not have been the result either.

Because his crimes were committed so long ago, Gardner is not subject to the community notification provisions that apply to more recent offenders under the state’s Megan’s Law. But the police leaked his address to public officials, and a media circus ensued. The result has been raucous nightly protests in front of his house by dozens of people calling on him to leave the neighborhood. Full ACLU Statement

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  1. Eric

    So the mob should be held for harassment. I don’t see how this can be allowed. Threatening someone is not a peaceful assembly.

    • Anonymous

      Media hypes story, community outrage grows. City mayor provides 24 hour police detail costing $19k per week. Public anger boils. Police and town officials say former offender has no right to be in the community. Former offender gets married. Former offender gets sent back to jail.

      https://turnto10.com/i-team/nbc-10-i-team-convicted-child-rapist-arrested-in-providence

      • R M

        He allegedly committed a misdemeanor. “Police said filing false information in a Vital Statistics record is a probation violation.”

        “They” can always find a reason to violate us. They did it to me and it added 6 years to my supervision and will do it to you. Please be careful.

  2. Harry

    It sounds like the ACLU are talking out of two sides of the mouth?

    • CR

      I don’t see any evidence of that.

      The ACLU’s stand on free speech issues based on the 1st amendment is one of the core foundations of their advocacy. They don’t agree with the law in Providence that bans picketing in residential areas for that reason. But since it is the law, they say, and I agree, that it must be enforced equally. The city cannot pick and choose when to enforce it and when to look the other way. The city must either stop this picketing in front of ________’s house, or it must stop preventing other groups from exercising the same rights that these angry protesters are permitted to enjoy.

      • David Kennerly

        I would go further and say that the mob’s angry, raucous gatherings are not simply an exercise in freedom of speech. Clearly, this is criminal harassment, stalking, disturbing the peace, criminal intimidation, and quite possibly criminal menacing. Those are not simply expressions of speech. I’m a free speech absolutist but I see nothing in putting an end to this nightly ritual that would offend that sensibility.

  3. JM from wi

    Think of the sh** that would ensue if 20 registrants would picket the Mayor’s & police chiefs house…

    (Our poster child) …… age 20ish at the time
    On Halloween night in 1987, Gardner took a 12-year-old Rockland boy into the woods at Wompatuck State Park in Hingham and sexually assaulted him. He was arrested and charged with rape and kidnapping. While on bail, Gardner kidnapped a 10-year-old in Warwick, Rhode Island, and sexually assaulted him at a nearby baseball field. He also sexually assaulted a 6-year-old Warwick boy after grabbing him from the steps of a public library.
    After his arrest for those crimes, Gardner was accused by Providence, Rhode Island, police of kidnapping a boy and driving him around.
    Gardner was found guilty of the Rhode Island crimes and sentenced to 190 years behind bars. Rhode Island’s highest court threw the conviction out in 1992 because it ruled the judge in the case erred by not allowing a psychologist to testify about Gardner’s mental state. Gardner pleaded guilty in 1993 and was sentenced to 50 years in prison.

  4. David

    I live in Rhode Island and have been following this nonsense for a week now I even went as far as going by Richards house and from what I seen the providence police should be asking for green cards instead of promoting this nonsense along with the mayor of providence who should be more concerned shouting fixing the schools instead of promoting vigilantism.

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