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Former recreation center director sentenced to 9 years in prison for child molestation



Attorney General Peter F. Neronha announced that the former director of the John Rollins Recreation Center was sentenced in Providence County Superior Court to serve nine years at the Adult Correctional Institutions (ACI) after pleading to sexually assaulting a female victim under the age of 14 in 2021.

44-year-old Manuel Nunez of Cranston entered a plea of nolo contendere to three counts of second-degree child molestation.

At a hearing on August 9, 2022, before Superior Court Justice Richard Raspallo, the Court sentenced the defendant to 25 years, with nine years to serve at the ACI and a 16-year suspended sentence with 25 years of probation. The Court further issued a no contact order between the defendant and his victim. Additionally, the defendant is required to register as a sex offender, must attend sex offender counseling, and is subject to community supervision requirements under state law.

“The degree of courage demonstrated by this child in coming forward and reporting the sexual assault by this defendant, someone who should have been and who held himself out as a “trusted” adult, cannot be overstated,” said Attorney General Neronha. “I am deeply grateful to her, and her family, for ensuring that this defendant will no longer be in a position to harm others. While this defendant will now be behind bars for a long time, we know that this work to bring perpetrators of crimes against children to justice will continue. Over the past five years alone, we have charged over 400 cases involving sexual assaults against children. I am grateful for the continued strong work by the Providence Police Department in this case and in others as we work together to protect Rhode Island’s most vulnerable residents.”

Had this case proceeded to trial, the State was prepared to prove that in 2021, the defendant sexually assaulted a female victim under the age of 14, at locations in Providence.

In March 2021, the victim’s mother contacted the Providence Police Department to report allegations that the defendant sexually assaulted the victim. The defendant later admitted to detectives that he had sexually assaulted the victim.

At the time when the assaults occurred, the defendant ran youth basketball programs in Providence. The victim attended one of those basketball programs.

Shortly before his arrest on April 12, 2021, the defendant was appointed as the Director of the John Rollins Recreation Center, located on Prairie Avenue in Providence.

“Investigations involving the sexual assault of a child are among the most difficult cases that police officers work,” said Steven M. Paré, Providence Commissioner of Public Safety. “The men and women of the Providence Police Department have witnessed firsthand the significant trauma that these cases present and work tirelessly towards a successful investigation and prosecution, in hopes to offer some semblance of justice to victims and their families. I commend the work of the Providence Police Department and the Office of the Attorney General in this case.”

“The men and women of the Providence Police Department stand ready to help those in our community who reach out to us in need while going through a significantly traumatic time in their lives,” said Providence Police Chief Colonel Hugh T. Clements, Jr. “I am proud of the work conducted by our officers throughout the investigation of this case, specifically Detective Koren Garcia of the Special Victims Unit, and thank the Office of the Attorney General for their continued partnership.”

Detective Koren Garcia Providence Police Department and Assistant Attorney General Timothy Healy and Special Assistant Attorney General Ariel Pittner of the Office of the Attorney General conducted the investigation and prosecution of the case.

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