• Convicted child rapist released after serving nearly 30 years in prison

    By: Robert Goulston

    Updated:

    A convicted child rapist was released following a decision from the Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court after spending nearly 30 years in prison.

    Richard Gardner walked out of court on Thursday as a free man, weeks after the state's highest court ruled he couldn't be held as a sexually dangerous person.

    Gardner served nearly 30 years in Massachusetts and Rhode Island prisons for kidnapping and raping children in the 1980's.

    He returned to his parents' home in Weymouth after his release two years ago, leading to outrage in the neighborhood

    Now, his parents tell community leaders he's not welcome back.

    Boston 25 News reporter Robert Goulston asked Gardner if he was going to go back to Weymouth after the decision.

    "I might, just to see you," Gardner said.

    When asked if he was going to hurt anybody, Gardner followed up with the same response, saying, "Just to see you."

    Gardner also told reporters to "get out of my face, you f---ing morons" as he made his way out of court.

    The Plymouth County District Attorney's Office told Boston 25 News two years ago that they dropped the ball in the case when they didn't ask a judge to civilly commit Gardner as a sexually dangerous person.

    >> DA admits 'human error' on release of child rapist 

    Gardner went back to jail days after his release on a Rhode Island probation violation, and the Plymouth County district attorney then tried to ask for a civil commitment.

    The state's highest court then ruled they had no jurisdiction the second time around.

    "When the Commonwealth applied for a petition in this case, the defendant was serving a Rhode Island sentence in a Massachusetts prison," the judge said.

    >> Mass. SJC rules convicted child rapist cannot be held in jail

    Gardner's attorney said Gardner is moving to Rhode Island and will be on probation there, where he will have to register as a sex offender. His attorney said if he leaves Rhode Island, he has to get permission from probation.

    One of his victims spoke to Boston 25 News, and said Gardner makes him worry for his children's safety.

    "What upsets me is I have kids," the victim said. "All I do is hang on to them. I don't let them go and do anything because of that man."

    Gardner was instructed to report to Rhode Island Probation at 8:30 a.m. on Friday.

    The Plymouth County District Attorney asked the Attorney General if they would pursue having the legal question on Gardner heard by the United States Supreme Court.


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