[Warning: Potentially Triggering Content]
A registered sex offender in Rhode Island has been accused of hatching a murder-for-hire plot against his 12-year-old victim while behind bars.
According to a press release from the Department of Justice, a federal grand jury returned a three-count indictment to Chandler Cardente on Wednesday for allegedly enticing a young girl to engage in sexual activity – and then plotting to have her murdered to remove her as a witness. He was charged with the enticement of a minor, committing a felony offense involving a minor while being a registered sex offender, and interstate murder-for-hire.
According to WPRI, Burrillville Police Colonel Stephen Lynch said Cardente posed as a 17-year-old boy and first reached out to the 12-year-old girl in July of 2021. The Department of Justice claimed in the statement that the 28-year-old soon repeatedly contacted the minor on social media beginning on December 3, 2021. Then, he allegedly arranged to pick up the girl on December 10, 2021, after she finished school that day. Lynch said at the time, WPRI reports:
“She went out to the soccer field, through the woods, and to Cardente in his waiting vehicle on the side of Route 102.”
Her parents soon reported her missing when she failed to come home. While with the middle school student, the DOJ alleges Cardente had “sexual contact” with her. She was later found “curled up on the side of the road” the next day after he allegedly kicked her out of his car when he learned law enforcement was looking for him in connection with her disappearance. Cardente was arrested and has remained in state custody ever since.
But while in the Adult Correctional Institutions, Cardente attempted to hire a hitman to kill the 12-year-old and reached out to someone he didn’t know was an undercover detective to carry out the scheme. An affidavit obtained by WPRI stated that he said during an outgoing call in February 2022:
“I got a 12-year-old witness, and she needs to end up dead … you’re OK with that? She’s a witness, she needs to go. I don’t care how she does it.”
He also allegedly gave the detective the child’s name and address. When the undercover cop gave him the chance to back out of the plot at one point in the conversation, Cardente replied:
“I’m going to go to sleep at night so, I’m fine with it. I just need it done before I get indicted.”
Furthermore, the DOJ claimed Cardente offered the agent $200 in cash and equipment worth $1,500. Beyond messed up…
The sex offender was already convicted of child molestation and sexual assault in 2014 for abusing a 2-year-old boy and a 13-year-old girl, WJAR reports. But if found guilty of this latest crime, the DOJ detailed what his potential sentence could look like in the statement, saying:
“Enticement of a minor is punishable by a statutory penalty of up to life in federal prison, with a minimum mandatory term of incarceration of ten years; committing a felony offense involving a minor while being a registered sex offender is punishable by a consecutive term of ten years of incarceration to any sentence imposed for enticement of a minor; interstate murder-for-hire is punishable by a statutory penalty of up to ten years imprisonment. If convicted, the defendant’s sentence will be determined by a federal district judge after consideration of the U.S. Sentencing Guidelines and other statutory factors.”
Such an awful situation…
If you or someone you know has been sexually assaulted, please contact the National Sexual Assault Hotline at 1-800-656-HOPE (4673) or go to rainn.org.
[Image via Rhode Island Sex Offender Registry]