Police allege that Richard Perry, 55, of Warren, was involved with the King Phillip Little League in 1998 when he befriended a 9-year-old boy who played in the league. Over time, Mr. Perry reportedly engaged in illicit, sexual acts with that boy on at least four occasions.
The police investigation revealed evidence that Mr. Perry allegedly committed second-degree (fondling) child molestation on the boy while in Bristol. The alleged sexual molestation escalated to first-degree (penetration), in incidents that occurred in the town of Warren. Police would not specify where the alleged acts took place.
During the course of the investigation into Richard Perry, police were led to his older brother, Jesse Perry, 59, of Fall River and his alleged actions while an assistant coach with the Bristol Mustangs Pop Warner Football program. According to investigators, Jesse Perry befriended a nine-year-old player from the football league and in 1990 committed first- and second-degree child molestation on the boy while in Bristol. He is being charged with one count each.
Detectives from the Bristol Police Department, Rhode Island State Police and the Fall River Police Department, as well as the Rhode Island Attorney General’s office and the Massachusetts District Attorney, have been building cases against the brothers. The investigation of alleged sexual abuse by the Perry brothers, and possibly others, depicts these men as predators of vulnerable children they met through youth sports leagues in Bristol.
“The most disheartening thing is these individuals were predators,” said Bristol Police Chief Josh Canario. “They focused on the vulnerable. It involves kids.”
Police said that over the years, rumors swirled regarding inappropriate behavior of the Perry brothers. When formal complaints were filed in the 1990s, Chief Canario said each was investigated to ensure the claims were “reliable and credible” before they were forwarded to the state attorney general for review.
“It wasn’t falling on deaf ears,” Chief Canario said.
Due to jurisdictional and statute of limitations on some complaints, the attorney general’s office at the time ruled that the cases did not meet legal merits for prosecution, Chief Canario said. Other victims, out of fear, embarrassment or an unwillingness to delve into unpleasant past experiences, declined to provide the testimony that would assist prosecutors.
In 2012, Bristol Police Deputy Chief Steven Contente, assisted by Sgt. Steven St. Pierre, renewed the department’s investigation, reaching out to those who may have been influenced by the Perry brothers during their years coaching in youth sports. Police said that two men acknowledged that they were sexually assaulted when they were boys and agreed to provide testimony, which was corroborated by other witnesses.
Deputy Chief Contente contends that the Perrys’ pleasant and caring exterior was no more than a cover for their deviant intent.
“They (the Perrys) tried to get complete control over their victims,” said Deputy Chief Contente. “They (the victims) exhibited fear, embarrassment and confusion when they were young.”
The news that victims, now 23 and 31, came forward to bring closure to their ordeal prompted other victims and witnesses to come forward, Chief Canario said.
“Thirty to 45 individuals have come forward and have given us information,” he said.
Some claim to be victims. Others have provided police with leads, corroboration of statements made by witnesses and victims. All cases brought to the police department’s attention are being handled respectfully and thoroughly, Chief Canario said. Those that can be verified as credible will be forwarded to the attorney general for review.
“I definitely anticipate more charges to come,” Chief Canario said. “It would not surprise me to have more charges on other individuals.”
He also said, “This is the beginning of the snowball that’s going to come,” Chief Canario said.
Rick and Jesse also chose careers that put them in the company of children. Both worked in academic environments, Rick in the Bristol Warren Regional School District, and Jesse in the Dighton Rehoboth Regional School District in Massachusetts. In 2012, Jesse retired from his position at Dighton Middle School, where he taught science.
Richard Perry is scheduled to appear in Sixth District Court on Thursday, Jan. 10, for a bail hearing. Jesse Perry is scheduled to appear on Friday, Jan. 18, on a bail hearing. Both are currently being held without bail until they appear.
If convicted, the Perrys could face sentences of 25 years to life in prison for each count of first-degree child molestation. Second-degree child molestation carries a penalty of 6 to 30 years in prison.
Open and ongoing investigation
Despite the arrests of Richard and Jesse Perry, police across several jurisdictions are actively investigating the accusations of child molestation that led to their arrest.
Victims wishing to file a complaint or witnesses who can provide information that substantiates others’ claims or provides new leads are encouraged to contact police who are involved in the investigation.
All calls will be kept confidential.
- Bristol Police: Sgt. Steven St. Pierre or Deputy Chief Steven Contente, 401-253-6900
- Rhode Island State Polic: Detective Lt. Benjamin Barney, 401-444-1000
- Fall River Police: Detective Brian Cordeiro, 508-676-8511, ext. 258
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