DA admits 'human error' on release of child rapist

The district attorney says there was "human error" when reviewing the case of a Weymouth sex offender.

The Weymouth neighborhood made it clear that they were not happy Richard Gardner was living back at his parents' home. Gardner kidnapped, molested and raped several children in Massachusetts and Rhode Island back in the 80's. He was sentenced to nearly 200 years in prison, but ended up serving only 27.

"This guy didn't come close when you consider the grotesque things he did to children," said Wendy Murphy, a former Middlesex District Attorney.

Murphy says district attorneys have the option to petition a judge to civilly commit someone after they serve their sentence. In this case, the Plymouth County DA told FOX25 they did not civilly commit Gardner. Typically, that decision is made after the DA gets notified the inmate is being released and does an assessment to determine if the person is still sexually dangerous.

In a statement, the Plymouth County DA said that the move to not civilly commit Gardner was the result of human error.

"This was an isolated incident, and our office immediately implemented further checks and balances to strengthen the notification process," said the DA's office.

Murphy told FOX25 that he should have been committed, based on his past.

"Why is he not being subjected to a process where a judge could say, 'you're too dangerous to be a free man, you should be behind bars at Bridgewater,'" said Murphy.

Murphy said it's a process that not only helps make sure the community is safe, but it also protects the inmate as they transition back into society.

Gardner's probation supervision has been transferred to Suffolk County, which means he is moving. He will have to update where he is living or staying on the sex offender registry.