Aunt Of Missing Boy Decries Release Of Serial Rapist Suspect

LAWRENCE (WBZ-AM) -- The family of a boy who went missing four decades ago is crying foul over the imminent release of the man they believe responsible: a convicted child rapist once deemed too dangerous to be set free.

Wayne Chapman spent three decades in prison after being convicted of raping two Lawrence boys in the 70s. He confessed to dozens more rapes.

Chapman was also a suspect in the disappearance of Andy Puglisi from a Lawrence swimming pool in 1976--and police have always believed he killed the boy.

Puglisi's aunt, Bobbie Scharn, made a point of following Chapman's fate, and told WBZ NewsRadio 1030's Kendall Buhl she can't believe he's about to be released.

"Educated people are saying that he's okay to be back on the street?" she said. "What is wrong with these people? Would they put him in the same room as their children? I don't think so."

During his 30 years in prison, correctional authorities said Chapman had no interest in treatment.

But in 2007, Chapman was committed to a mental hospital as a sexually dangerous person.

Two psychologists testified in court last week that eleven years of treatment have served their purpose, and Chapman is no longer sexually dangerous.

The Suffolk County Court has ended Chapman's civil commitment, and the Department of Corrections says he could be a free man as early as tomorrow.

Scharn notes that, just a few years ago, he was deemed too dangerous to be free--and said she can't imagine what changed in that time.

"I saw this man in Boston when he was trying to get out a few years back, and he was denied. They said he was still a threat. What's changed? He's still a threat. He's evil. You just have to look at him to see that. He just has that look about him, like there's nothing there."

Gov. Charlie Baker weighed in on Chapman's release, saying he thought the statute that allowed his release should be looked into.

"I think somebody with his background and his history and his convictions, at a minimum, should spend a very long time in jail and maybe never get out," Baker said. "But as I understand state law, if two of these appointed forensic psychologists determine that he's no longer a danger, that he can be released without having any more process. And one of the things I think we need to do is take a look at the statute and see if there's some adjustments that should be made there."

"And I would just say that, wherever he goes, he's gonna have to register as a sex offender so the folks in the communities that he may choose to live in will know that he's there," he added.

Scharn said Chapman's release doesn't just hurt her and her family--but is a slap in the face to every one of Chapman's victims.

"Why should he get to live a life?" Sharn said. "These children that he molested, they have to live with that for the rest of their lives. There's no going back for them. How does he get another chance?"

WBZ NewsRadio 1030's Kendall Buhl reports

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