Advocates for Wayne Chapman’s victims say the ongoing uncertainty over the whereabouts of the newly freed serial rapist is a “terrifying” byproduct of a flawed system.
“What’s terrifying for me is the idea of the children that he will be around,” said Melanie Perkins McLaughlin, an Emmy Award-winning filmmaker whose 2007 documentary brought the Chapman case much of its notoriety.
McLaughlin represents the family of her childhood friend Angelo “Andy” Puglisi, the 10-year-old boy who disappeared from a public swimming pool in Lawrence on Aug. 21, 1976 — a case in which authorities have long suspected Chapman. McLaughlin, as the family’s representative, is on the list of people for the authorities to notify about the 71-year-old Chapman’s release — but she hasn’t gotten anything since he walked free on Friday.
“Now he’s roaming the streets and they’re not notifying us,” McLaughlin said, adding that the notification system “needs to be improved.”
Chapman is a Level 3 sex offender — the highest level. His profile on the state offender website lists his aliases as Peter Dyneski and Bruce Chapman, but simply says he lives on the “streets of Boston.”
Two state-appointed examiners last year said Chapman, who had been held on a civil commitment since he completed his prison sentence in 2004 for raping two Lawrence boys, was too old and sick to be a danger, so the state could no longer hold him under civil commitment, a decision upheld by the state’s highest court.
Chapman, who’s admitted to sexually assaulting up to 100 boys, was then freed last Friday after a jury acquitted him of separate lewdness charges, which were filed while he was behind bars.
His attorney, Eric Tennen, told the Herald his client is “old, he’s frail and he needs to be cared for. But for his own safety, we’re not saying where he’s going.” Tennen, who couldn’t be reached for comment Sunday, said once they find a permanent residence for Chapman, he’ll update the listing on the Sex Offender Registry website.
“We’re talking about giving a monster 30 days’ head start,” said attorney Wendy Murphy, who represents several of Chapman’s victims.
The state Department of Public Safety didn’t respond to a request Sunday for comment on the process.