PROVIDENCE – A federal grand jury returned a three-count indictment Wednesday charging a 28-year-old registered sex offender with allegedly enticing a 12-year-old Rhode Island girl to engage in sex, then plotting her murder within the state prison where he was being held on related state charges.
Homeland Security Investigations; the Burrillville, Warwick, and Cranston Police Departments; Rhode Island State Police; and the Rhode Island Department of Corrections Special Investigations Unit participated in the investigation, according to a joint release by United States Attorney Zachary A. Cunha and Rhode Island Attorney General Peter F. Neronha.
The indictment alleges that, beginning on Dec. 3, 2021, Chandler J. Cardente communicated repeatedly with the minor female via social media, prior to having sexual contact with her on December 10, 2021. Cardente was subsequently arrested and detained in state custody.
The indictment also alleges that, while being held at the Adult Correctional Institutions, Cardente expressed his intent that the victim be murdered during a phone call, and offered $200 in cash and equipment worth $1,500. The indictment also alleges that Cardente told the other person that the victim needed “to end up dead” because she was “a witness.”
The grand jury indictment charges Cardente with enticement of a minor; committing a felony offense involving a minor while being a registered sex offender; and interstate murder-for-hire. A federal indictment is merely an accusation. A defendant is presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty.
According to the Cunha’s office, 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.
The case in U.S. District Court is being prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorney Milind M. Shah and Assistant Attorney General Shannon Signore of the Rhode Island Attorney General’s Office.
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