In 1977, Wayne S. Chapman was sentenced to 15 to 30 years in prison after he was found guilty of raping two boys from Lawrence, Massachusetts.
As the Boston Herald reports, Chapman was also named as a suspect in the disappearance of a 10-year-old boy named Andy Puglisi in 1976. Andy disappeared from a swimming pool and was never found.
Chapman was convicted of offenses in three different states. He is also believed to have raped more than 100 kids from eight different states and two different countries since the 1960s.
According to Boston 25 News, following the completion of his sentence, Chapman requested to be freed. But he was civilly committed by the state of Massachusetts as a “sexually dangerous” person in 2007, and he has remained committed for the last 11 years. In those 11 years he has not stopped fighting for his freedom.
During a hearing on the matter in 2016, a forensic psychologist testified against Chapman, telling the court that Chapman believed the boys he raped wanted to have sex with him:
“The fact that in December 2014, a little more than a year ago, he was still saying he saw these children as willing participants, in the assaults seem to us quite a severe cognitive distortion.”
But his lawyer, Eric Tennen, argued during the 2016 hearing that Chapman was “too old” to reoffend.
“He’s just too old, and too sick and his life won’t create the circumstances to allow him to reoffend. Even if he wanted to, I’m not saying he does want to, or did want to, but regardless, it’s not even feasible to think that he could.”
Now, it seems as though Chapman is finally getting the freedom he has been fighting for.
The decision to set Capman free did not require a hearing. According to Boston 25, Chapman was recently evaluated by two “qualified mental health examiners” who determined he was not a threat.
Carrie Kimball-Monahan, a spokeswoman for Essex District Attorney Jonathan W. Blodgett, explained why he is being released to the Boston Herald:
“If both found him to no longer be sexually dangerous, it’s game over. He can’t be held beyond that because it’s a civil commitment and he completed his criminal sentence long ago.”
The families of his victims have since been notified that he could be set free as early as May 22.
Melanie Perkins, a childhood friend of the boy who disappeared from the swimming pool in 1976, can’t understand why he would be labeled as “no longer a threat to children”:
“Suddenly he’s no longer sexually dangerous simply by virtue, what that he’s older? That doesn’t make any sense.”
She said her “heart is breaking”:
“My heart breaks for his family and for all the victims of Wayne Chapman because there are many. Children in Providence who were raped by him, children in Massachusetts who were raped by him.”
Perkins told Boston 25 that she is having a difficult time understanding why prosecutors aren’t fighting to keep him committed.
— Ted Daniel (@tvnewzted) May 22, 2018
“Chapman is a serial pedophile and very likely a serial child murderer who will hurt and harm children again.”
An official with the Department of Correction said Chapman will be out by Wednesday.
It’s unclear if he will have to register as a sex offender. He will not be required to enter a halfway house upon his release.