Colonel Michael Winquist, Chief of the Cranston Police Department, has announced the arrest of Kimberly Ruggiero, age 40, of 52 Stevens Road, Cranston, and Carolyn Bird, age 46, of 49 School St., East Providence, for violating the state’s social host laws. A third suspect, Joseph Kirtlink, age 24, of East Greenwich, was also arrested for first-degree sexual assault as a result of the investigation.
On June 9 Ruggiero and Bird held a graduation party at 52 Stevens Road. An 18-year-old female at the party was transported to Rhode Island Hospital by rescue suffering from an apparent overdose. Cranston Police were later contacted as a result and asked to conduct an investigation.
Cranston Police Special Victims Unit confirmed that a high school graduation party was held at 52 Stevens Road on the evening of June 9. During the party, witnesses confirmed that marijuana and alcohol were provided and distributed by Ruggiero and Bird to both adults and juveniles present.
Detectives interviewed multiple people who had attended the party who witnessed the two women distributing alcohol, chocolate marijuana edibles and Jell-O shots.
As part of the investigation, parents of one of the partygoers were interviewed by SVU detectives. They reported that they had accompanied their child to the party and spoke with Bird and Ruggiero prior to leaving their daughter at the party. They were assured by the hosts that no alcohol or drugs would be permitted during the party.
On June 15, 2018 detectives were notified that an 18-year-old female had been sexually assaulted at the party. The victim was interviewed and reported that she ingested alcohol and marijuana, which had been provided by Ruggiero and Bird.
After consumption, she was rendered incapacitated and unable to speak or function. Subsequently, the victim was sexually assaulted by 24-year-old Joseph Kirtlink of 1 Pequot Trail, East Greenwich.
On June 22, Kirtlink was arrested by patrol officers at his home and charged with one count of first degree sexual assault. On June 23, he was arraigned at Cranston Police Headquarters and held without bail.
On June 25, he was formally arraigned by the Honorable Justice Mary McCaffrey at third district court. He was continued held without bail at the Adult Correctional Institute awaiting a bail hearing in third district court, which is scheduled for July 9.
Arrest warrants were sought and granted for Ruggiero and Bird.
Kimberly Ruggiero was arrested at her home on June 26. She was charged with Purchase/Procurement of Alcohol for Minor – Misdemeanor. She was arraigned at Cranston Police Headquarters before a Justice of the Peace and was released on $1,000 personal recognizance. Her next court date is July 10 in Third District court.
Carolyn Bird turned herself in to Cranston Police Headquarters on June 27 for Purchase/Procurement of Alcohol for Minor – Misdemeanor and Distribution of Schedule V to Minors – Felony. She was arraigned at Cranston Police Headquarters before a Justice of the Peace and was released on $10,000 personal recognizance. Her next court date is Sept. 13 in Superior Court.