BOSTON (AP/WHDH) — A judge on Massachusetts’ highest court cleared the way on Monday for the release of a 70-year-old convicted child rapist in poor health, drawing condemnation from an attorney for victims who vowed to continue fighting to keep the man locked up.
Wayne Chapman, who was convicted in 1977, lured young boys into the woods by pretending he was searching for his missing dog and then sexually assaulted them, court records say.
He has been civilly committed since his prison sentence ended in 2004 because he was deemed to be “sexually dangerous,” but two experts who recently examined him concluded he was no longer dangerous and should be released.
Justice Scott Kafker of the Supreme Judicial Court said in his ruling that Chapman’s victims were “understandably upset and frightened” about his potential release. But Kafker said the proper requirements governing Chapman’s release were followed under the law.
Wendy Murphy, an attorney for victims, blasted the decision and filed another bid on Monday to block his release while she tries to convince the full court to review the matter.
Murphy appeared at a press conference with a man who said he was a victim of Chapman’s. The man called it a “farce” that Chapman was no longer considered to be too dangerous to be on the street.
“People like this should never be allowed to victimize other children,” he said. The Associated Press does not typically identify people who say they are victims of sexual assault unless they grant permission.
Chapman’s attorney, Eric Tennen, said Chapman was deemed ready for release under a process dictated by law. Chapman, who suffers from medical problems, is not in good enough health to live independently and is seeking a bed in a facility that can accommodate his medical needs, he said.
“The two doctors who evaluated him took their jobs very seriously and they wouldn’t say what they said if they thought otherwise,” Tennen said.
In a statement, Gov. Charlie Baker said he does not support the decision to release Chapman.
“The administration does not support the release of Mr. Chapman and plans to file legislation to increase penalties and improve court proceedings for sexually dangerous persons,” Baker’s communication director Lizzy Guyton said.
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