Man Convicted of Kidnapping, Raping Children Released From Custody

Richard Gardner's release stems largely from a clerical error made by prosecutors two years ago

A man convicted of kidnapping and raping young boys in Massachusetts and Rhode Island back in the 80s was released from prison Thursday.

Richard Gardner had no comment as he was released from custody Thursday following a lengthy fight with prosecutors that ended when Judge Rosemary Connolly said prosecutors in Plymouth County don’t have standing to keep Gardner locked up.

His release stems largely from a clerical error made by prosecutors two years ago.

The 51-year-old had served 30 years for kidnapping and raping boys when he was released in 2016 after prosecutors failed to request he be civilly committed as a sexually dangerous person, which is an option to keep high risk offenders in custody.

Gardner's 2016 release prompted community outrage, but he was arrested again only days later for violating his probation in Rhode Island.

Prosecutors had hoped that would give them a second chance to keep Gardner behind bars, but the state’s highest court ruled against them in Massachusetts because his probation violation was tied to Rhode Island.

While Gardner refused to comment on his case, he did tell the court he now plans to return to Rhode Island.

Gardner did tell at least one reporter though that he might return to his hometown of Weymouth.

The court, however, ordered Gardner to report Friday morning to his probation officer in Rhode Island.

Prosecutors say they have asked the state’s attorney general’s office to appeal their case to the Supreme Court.

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