Jury finds Wayne Chapman not guilty in lewdness trial

For the first time in 40 years, Wayne Chapman will be a free man.

The convicted child molester has been found not guilty on two counts of open and gross lewdness for allegedly exposing himself to staff at MCI-Shirley in June 2018.

Chapman spent over 40 years in prison and had admitted to molesting up to 100 boys dating back to the 1960s. He is a suspect in at least one case of a possible homicide in the disappearance of Andy Puglisi in Lawrence in 1976.

In 2004, the DA was able to convince a judge to find him still sexually dangerous and he was civilly committed. That didn't end until last year and almost the following day, the open and gross lewdness charges were filed.

Wendy Murphy represented some of Chapman's victims and fought to keep him behind bars.

"You don't have to know Wayne Chapman’s history to find him guilty on a case where there's video proof of the crime," Murphy said. "I'd really like to know what planet the jury was on when they were coming up with this verdict."

Chapman was released from custody and wheeled into a waiting car.

The state's sex offender registry lists the level 3 sex offender as homeless and now living on the streets of Boston.

"Who is that first child Wayne Chapman sees? Who is that first child Wayne Chapman gets a look at?" said Melanie Perkins McLaughlin, a friend of one of Chapman's alleged victims.

Perkins McLaughlin says Chapman is a suspect in the disappearance of her friend Andy Puglisi 43 years ago in Lawrence.

"I was with him the day he disappeared, and Wayne Chapman is the main suspect in his disappearance," she said.

Chapman has admitted to molesting up to 100 boys. He served 40 years, including time on civil commitment for a conviction of child rape in Lawrence.

But the Middlesex jury was not made aware of any of that. Prosecutors alleged Chapman intentionally exposed himself to staff at MCI Shirley last June.

Hours of prison surveillance and testimony from prison staff didn’t sway the jury.

"When he re-offends, and he will, I hope the media and everyone else holds the people who helped him get released accountable," Perkins McLaughlin said.

Previous stories from lewdness trial:

>> Jurors deliberate in Wayne Chapman trial
>> Jury sees graphic video in day 2 of Wayne Chapman lewdness trial
>> Trial begins for convicted child molester accused of exposing himself in prison