Alleged child molester was coach and school employee for years
Ricahrd Perry, a former employee of Bristol Warren schools and well-known youth sports official in the East Bay and beyond, has been held without bail at the ACI in Cranston since Dec. 13.
An alleged victim of Mr. Perry first approached Bristol police in April 2004. The victim filed a molestation complaint against Mr. Perry, and the department launched an investigation. In October of 2004, officials presented their case to the attorney general’s office, but were told they could not pursue the case because the alleged crime had taken place more than seven years earlier, outside the statute of limitations.
In 2011, Bristol Police Deputy Chief Steven Contente began to re-examine a list of potential victims.
In January of 2012, police located a second alleged victim, a 22-year-old man who agreed to cooperate with the investigation. Based on the evidence gathered by the Bristol Police Department, which involved alleged incidents outside of Rhode Island, officials turned the case over to the state police.
Earlier this year, a grand jury indicted Mr. Perry for his alleged crimes.
Mr. Perry has worked in Bristol since the 1970s. The Warren resident — he resides at 50 Arlington Ave. — worked for the Rhode Island Department of Environmental Management as a park ranger at Colt State Park. He later went to work for the Bristol School Department as a teacher’s aide at the high school. Among his duties, he acted as the school’s truant officer, monitored students who were assigned in-school suspensions, oversaw the cafeteria as a lunch monitor, and ran a mentoring program.
At the time of his employment at the high school, current Bristol Town Administrator Tony Teixeira was the dean of students and Mr. Perry’s boss. Mr. Teixeira said he remembered Mr. Perry as a “good employee.”
“Nothing ever surfaced. Nobody ever raised any concerns with me back then,” Mr. Teixeira said. “He was very involved with youth programs and as a counselor.”
Trusted as an employee, Mr. Perry was given keys to access “various areas of the building,” said Mr. Teixeira. Other individuals have said Mr. Perry would offer students rides home when needed.
In the early 1990s, Mr. Perry transferred to Kickemuit Middle School, where he took on new duties as a custodian. In 2006, Mr. Perry retired from the Bristol Warren School department.
For decades, Mr. Perry and his brothers, Jack and Jessie, were fixtures in local youth sports. While Jessie and Jack became involved in football, coaching teams for the Bristol Pop Warner Mustangs, Rick turned to baseball where, until recently, he was active as a Little League and AAU umpire.
Henry Cabral, president of East Bay Warriors Pop Warner Football, became involved in the football program in 2006 when his son joined the team. By that time, he said, none of the Perry brothers was involved in the league.
“There’s always been rumors (Rick) was coming around the Kickemuit baseball games,” he said. “As far as Little League, they pushed him out.”
As recently as last year, Mr. Perry attempted to push back into King Philip Little League in Bristol, according to league president Mark DeFelice.
“He did approach me last year to offer his services as an umpire,” Mr. DeFelice said. Mr. DeFelice said he did not consider Mr. Perry for the position, based primarily on rumors of Mr. Perry's inappropriate behavior with children.
“I don’t know whether or not these rumors are true,” Mr. DeFelice said.
Mr. Perry, an employee of the Rhode Island Umpires Association, was assigned to officiate AAU games in 2012. At some point during the year, Rob Healey, director of umpires for NEAAU, told Mr. Perry he could not umpire any AAU games because he had failed to follow policies and procedures.
Mr. Perry also umpired previously in Vermont and Pennsylvania, where he officiated in Little League World Series games.
On Thursday, Dec. 13, members of the Rhode Island State Police, as well as Bristol and Warren police departments, went to Mr. Perry’s home, where they arrested him and collected additional evidence.
The police are continuing their investigation.
“We’re strengthening our case and gathering information,” Chief Contente said.
So far, the testimony from one of Mr. Perry's alleged victims has met the legal requirements, leading to two counts of first-degree, and two counts of second-degree child molestation against him. Mr. Perry is scheduled to appear in Superior Court on Thursday, Dec. 20 for a status conference and determination of attorney in front of Magistrate John F. McBurney III.
As the investigation continues, Bristol police are asking anyone with information about the case to call the department at 253-6900 or the state police at 444-1000. Calls will be kept confidential.