Convicted child rapist Wayne Chapman was found not guilty Friday on two counts after prosecutors had accused him of exposing himself in a Massachusetts correctional facility.
Chapman had been charged with open and gross lewdness and lewd, wanton and lascivious acts. His acquittal cleared the way for his release to the public, and registered in the Massachusetts sex offender registry as homeless.
The jury, deliberating since Thursday, initially said Friday afternoon that it reached one verdict but was at an impasse on the second that Chapman faces. Middlesex County Superior Court Judge Maureen Hogan sent the jury back to continue deliberating.
The 71-year-old was seen leaving court in plain clothes a short time after the verdict. His attorney Eric Tennen would not disclose where Chapman was being taken but said he was going to a place that would meet his ongoing medical needs.
"I can't really talk about where he's going really for his own safety," Tennen said. "But we have been working hard hoping he would be released so we have a lot of different plans in place to help take care of him."
Tennen added that he thinks the jury made the right decision and that his client is no longer a danger to society.
"He's caused a lot of harm in his life but I can tell you at this point in his life, who he is and how he's deteriorated, he's not a risk," Tennen said.
Of Chapman's new status as homeless after his apparent release, Wendy Murphy, an attorney for several of his victims, said he could be "anywhere."
"As of tonight, he's free to be around children," Murphy said.
Chapman allegedly exposed himself to staff at Massachusetts Correctional Institution – Shirley for hours on June 3, 2018, then openly masturbated several times the next day.
Chapman has served 30 years in prison after he was convicted of sexually assaulting two boys in Lawrence, Massachusetts, in 1977. He has admitted to molesting hundreds going back to the 1960s.
Chapman's prison term ended in 2004, but he remained civilly committed until last year. Two "qualified examiners" found that Chapman was no longer sexually dangerous because of his age and medical condition — he has Parkinson's disease.
But before he was scheduled to be released, he was accused of exposing himself to the nurses and refusing to cover up.
"During the course of that hour and a half, when he was intentionally exposing himself, he didn't say one word to anyone. He didn't ask for help, he didn't say he couldn't do it, he didn't say he didn't have clean pants or a pull-up in his room," Assistant Middlesex District Attorney Emily Jackson said.
Defense attorney Melissa Devore argued, "If these women were truly suffering from the negative emotional experience that is required by the law, why weren't they going in there and giving him a sheet to cover himself with? Why weren't they helping him to get dressed?"
She had previously said that it often takes Chapman two hours to get dressed due to his disease and chronic itching.
Murphy says Chapman's victims are terrified.
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"They were told when they were little and when he was terrorizing them that if they ever told, he would kill them and their families," she said.