Decision on Bail for Serial Child Rapist Delayed to Wednesday
By Laurel J. Sweet
Prosecutors bent on stopping a serial child rapist from being set free will try to persuade a clerk-magistrate Wednesday that public safety can’t be left to the chance of Wayne W. Chapman posting bail.
Middlesex Superior Court First Assistant Clerk-Magistrate Lisa McGovern Monday afternoon continued the scheduled arraignment of the serial child rapist on new charges to Wednesday morning after she told prosecutor Emily Jackson she was not inclined to grant her request for a dangerousness hearing, and Jackson, after consulting with Middlesex District Attorney Marian T. Ryan’s office, refused to withdraw it.
A wheelchair-bound Chapman, 70, has been imprisoned more than 40 years for raping two Lawrence boys in 1977 and for his subsequent 2004 civil commitment as a sexually dangerous person.
He is suspected of molesting as many as 100 children in three states.
Chapman, however, was this year granted release by the state Supreme Judicial Court and has been simply waiting on a lower court judge to officially discharge him pending his securing acceptable housing.
Before that could happen, a Middlesex grand jury indicted him on charges of open and gross lewdness and lewd, wanton and lascivious behavior stemming from alleged sexual offenses he committed last month at MCI-Shirley state prison.
Chapman pleaded not guilty Monday morning. McGovern is holding him until Wednesday’s hearing results in either a dangerousness hearing or a bail argument.
“I’ve seen the video and I’ve read through the statement of the facts and I still maintain Mr. Chapman’s innocence on his behalf,” defense attorney Melissa Devore told reporters.
“He’s obviously frustrated,” she said. “He was due to be released and now there’s significant obstacles to getting -- with the attention that is on him -- placement. It’s extremely frustrating.”
Chapman is accused of exposing his genitals to a prison nurses’ station on June 3 and of masturbating in front of medical staff on June 4.
“Mr. Chapman is a dangerous person based on his criminal history, which includes numerous convictions for molestation of children in different states,” Jackson appealed in vain to McGovern. “Not only is Mr. Chapman a dangerous person, but his pretrial release would pose a danger to the public at large.”
McGovern said she needed convincing that the new crimes Chapman is charged with rise to the level of a dangerousness hearing because, as state law demands, they could potentially result in a substantial risk of the use of physical force against someone if he were set free.
“I think what the commonwealth is trying to do here is inflate the charges,” Devore told McGovern. “You don’t have before you any sort of attempted rape, attempted indecent assault and battery. There’s no attempted touching. No one is going to die if you masturbate in front of them.
“A person may feel offended,” she said. “They may be appalled. But their personal safety, under these crimes, is not impacted.”