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Convicted child rapist Wayne Chapman dies in Connecticut

ROCKY HILL, Conn. — Convicted serial child rapist and murder suspect Wayne Chapman died Wednesday night at a Rocky Hill, Connecticut Nursing Home of natural causes, according to Chapman’s attorney. Wayne Chapman spent most of his adult life in prison, serving time for raping two Lawrence boys in the 1970′s.

Chapman also emerged as a suspect in the 1976 disappearance of Andy Puglisi from a Lawrence swimming pool. Andy’s remains have never been found. Wayne Chapman’s connection to the Puglisi case was uncovered by his childhood friend, Melanie Perkins McLaughlin, who produced the HBO documentary, “Have You Seen Andy?”

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“Chapman firmly and fully believed he had the right to have sex with children. And that children had the right to have sex with him,” McLaughlin said. “There will be justice when it comes to Andy Puglisi. And I certainly hope there will be more justice on the other side, wherever he may be now, than there was in his lifetime. Because he was certainly guilty of a lot more than he was convicted of.”

Chapman’s case pushed the limits of the state’s criminal justice system when it comes to repeat sex offenders. When Chapman was nearing the end of his prison term, state prosecutors had Chapman civilly committed, finding him too sexually dangerous to release. The civil commitment kept Chapman in custody for 14 years.

But in 2018, in a highly controversial move, two specialists found Chapman no longer sexually dangerous. That decision paved the way for his release. Almost immediately, new charges were filed against Wayne Chapman alleging he exposed his private parts to staff at MCI Shirley. A year later, a jury acquitted Chapman and he was finally released.

Chapman’s lawyer struggled to find a home for his client. After Chapman’s release, he was first sent to a Boston hospital then moved to a Medford nursing home until finally being placed in Connecticut, where he died this week.

Chapman’s lawyer said Wayne Chapman was never a danger to anyone in his senior years.

“I never defended what he did,” attorney Eric Tennen told me. “Wayne Chapman committed horrible acts that caused great harm and I never once defended that. My position has always been, a point has come where he could be released without being a danger to anybody, and that I always believed every moment I argued it. And I did until the end when he was released.”

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Melanie Perkins McLaughlin told me Chapman’s death will not stop her search for Andy Puglisi.

“Make no mistake, Chapman left behind hundreds of victims, both directly and indirectly of his crimes. That reverberates for generations, that exists for generations. There’s a lot of trauma and healing to take place,” McLaughlin said.

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