After protests, senators eye stronger sex offender rules

PROVIDENCE, R.I. (AP) — Two Rhode Island lawmakers say they plan to file legislation in response to a recent furor over a convicted child rapist who recently moved into a Providence neighborhood.

Democratic Sens. Harold Metts and Ana Quezada say the bill that will be introduced for the 2019 legislative session would eliminate a loophole in current sex offender laws by including registered daycares in the definition of “private and public educational institutions.”

The proposal would also increase the area around those institutions where sex offenders are not allowed to live from 300 feet to 500 feet.

Gardner was released from prison in 2016. He was convicted of multiple child rapes in the 1980s and early 1990s in Rhode Island and Massachusetts.

Gardner’s Providence home has been the site of recent noisy protests by area residents.

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