A Boston attorney has filed a petition with the state's highest court seeking to stop the release of a convicted serial child rapist who has been in state custody for more than 40 years.
Wendy Murphy, who is representing an unknown number of Wayne Chapman's victims, said her clients were upset about being notified Monday that he could be released as early as the next day, instead of the mandatory minimum 14 day notification.
Her petition was filed in Massachusetts' Supreme Judicial Court on Thursday.
Chapman's attorney, Eric Tennen, said Wednesday that he will be released as soon as the state is able to line up housing for his client.
In a statement, a Department of Correction spokesperson said the agency followed all requirements when notifying Chapman's victims.
"Wayne Chapman's release was determined as a result of two independent qualified examiners who are psychologists not employed by the DOC," spokesperson Christopher Fallon said.
Fallon added the department couldn't appeal the decision.
"The DOC believes it's time to re-evaluate the statute that currently allows a dangerous sex offender to be released back into the community with no available recourse," he said. "In the absence of legislative changes to the statute, juries will not be allowed to hear from all experts because the Commonwealth cannot even go to trial in cases where both qualified examiners say a person is no longer sexually dangerous."
Outrage has been growing over the impending release of Chapman, who was sent to prison in 1977 for raping two boys in Lawrence.
Chapman has spent years trying to be released, but court documents show he was found to be too dangerous each time and that he refused to take part in treatment while in prison.
Court documents show that Chapman had roughly 50 victims over a 10-year span, and he is believed to have molested many of them in wooded areas by luring them there to find a phony dog.
He is also the main suspect in the 1976 disappearance of Andy Puglisi, a 10-year-old boy who was never seen seen again after heading to a Lawrence pool.
When Chapman petitioned to be released this year, two experts testified that he was no longer sexually dangerous, meaning he was able to skip a hearing at Suffolk Superior Court, and now the Department of Corrections has to set him free.
Puglisi's aunt, Billie Scharn, told NBC10 Boston earlier this week that she has been trying to keep Chapman behind bars.
"I believe the man is evil," she said. "Their sentence is a life sentence for what they went through. You can’t take that away from them. That’s always going to be there for them, so why shouldn’t he have a life sentence, too?"