Chapman case may go to jury Thursday 

AMANDA SABGA/Staff photo Wayne Chapman, 71, is seen on the second day of his trial at Middlesex Superior Court in Woburn. 8/6/19

WOBURN — Jurors could begin deliberations Thursday in a lewdness case involving Wayne Chapman, an elderly, convicted child rapist charged with repeatedly exposing himself to workers in the healthcare unit at MCI-Shirley, a state prison. 

Numerous nursing workers and correctional officers testified that Chapman, 71, exposed himself and masturbated in front of them June 3 and June 4, 2018. The alleged incidents occurred in the health services unit at MCI-Shirley.

Before the prosecution rested early Wednesday afternoon, Assistant District Attorney Emily Jackson presented various video clips to jurors taken from prison surveillance cameras in the unit. 

Chapman's attorney Melissa Devore began her defense, which involved showing some four hours of prison surveillance video for the jury in Middlesex Superior Court. Chapman suffers from Parkinson's disease, diabetes, incontinence and other health issues resulting in his placement in the prison's health services unit. 

Chapman was indicted on charges of open and gross lewdness and wanton and lascivious acts. His trial in Superior Court opened Monday and he remains held on $25,000 bail. 

He has previously admitted to sexually abusing as many as 100 boys in the United States and Canada, starting when he was a child himself. He is also the longtime suspect in the 1976 disappearance of Andy Puglisi, 10, of Lawrence.

After the prosecution rested Wednesday, Devore unsuccessfully attempted to get the charges against Chapman dismissed before the case was sent to the jury for deliberation. 

Devore argued Chapman did not expose himself but was intentionally left half naked (without pants) in his room in the health services unit. Chapman, she said, has significant mobility issues and struggles to complete even basic tasks. 

She told Judge Maureen Hogan the prosecution "had not met its burden" and "a reasonable person would not have been shocked or alarmed" by Chapman's actions. 

However, in response, Jackson said Chapman, despite warnings from the nursing staff and correctional officers, did "not take reasonable measures to secure his privacy." 

She said "over and over and over he was told to cover up." But instead, he made himself "more and more exposed." 

Hogan ruled the prosecution's evidence was sufficient to present to the jury. She specifically pointed to Tuesday's testimony from a female correctional officer, who testified Chapman exposed himself to her. 

The correctional officer, who was assigned to the health services unit, said she was in "shock, disbelief, disgust."

Chapman has been brought into court every day in a wheelchair. He wears beige prison scrubs with the letters "DOC" stamped on the back of his shirt.

During opening statements, while a prosecutor detailed Chapman's alleged crimes, the grey-haired and bearded man kept his head down.

There have been no indications Chapman will testify in his own defense. 

Chapman's history in Lawrence dates back more than four decades.

In 1975, he was convicted of raping two boys in Lawrence.

He also remains the prime suspect in the disappearance of Puglisi, who vanished from a South Lawrence swimming pool Aug. 21, 1976.

Chapman became eligible for release from state prison May 21, 2018, when two qualified examiners — Dr. Gregg Belle and Dr. Katrin Rouse Weir — said he is too old and sick to re-offend.

If and when he's released, Chapman will have to go to a facility that can manage his deteriorating health as he cannot live independently, another of his defense attorneys, Eric Tennen, said previously.

Chapman would need a specialized facility that can accommodate his daily medical needs, Tennen said.

Jill Harmacinski may be contacted at Follow her on Twitter @EagleTribJill.