WOBURN — A woman who works in the state prison where Wayne Chapman is being held testified she felt “disgusted and violated” when the elderly convicted sex offender repeatedly exposed himself to her in June 2018.
A certified nursing assistant, the woman said she was involved in Chapman’s daily care in the health services unit at MCI-Shirley. But what happened June 3 and June 4, 2018, went beyond her clinical duties, she testified.
“I don’t see him exposed. So to see that kind of gesture was very disturbing to me. ... My job does not require me coming to work and seeing that,” said the woman, who said she helped care for Chapman since 2016 in the prison’s skilled nursing ward.
Chapman, 71, previously admitted to sexually abusing as many as 100 boys in the U.S. 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.
Chapman, held on $25,000 bail, is now on trial in Middlesex Superior Court for allegedly exposing himself and masturbating in front of prison workers.
Chapman, 71, was indicted by a Middlesex County grand jury on charges of open and gross lewdness, wanton and lascivious acts and as a habitual offender.
Although he was previously designated as a sexually dangerous person, the state’s Supreme Judicial Court ruled Chapman could be released from state prison. However, he’s been held in prison in this case and if convicted, would face additional time behind bars.
Video taken in the skilled nursing center at MCI-Shirley of the alleged offenses is evidence in the trial and some of the footage was shown to jurors Monday, the day the trial opened.
Judge Maureen Hogan is presiding.
Chapman was brought into court in a wheelchair. He wore 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 gray-haired and bearded man kept his head down.
Chapman is charged with exposing his unclothed body “more and more and more” to women who worked in the skilled nursing unit at the prison.
The incidents occurred in front of a large pane glass window that faced these women there, according to documents.
“It was markedly and alarmingly different than anything they had seen him do before,” said Assistant District Attorney Emily Jackson in her opening statement.
But Chapman’s defense attorney Melissa Devore told jurors they will see lengthy videos that tell a different story. She said he suffers from chronic itching and Parkinson’s disease.
Devore asked jurors for their patience and said she’s confident he’ll be found not guilty.
The prosecution’s first witness, the certified nursing assistant, testified Monday that inmates who are paralyzed or suffer from dementia or other illnesses are cared for in the health services unit.
Jurors were shown pictures of the unit, including photos of Chapman sitting on a bed in his room, with his back to the camera. There are two large windows, including one in the door.
Twice daily the woman said he was would test Chapman’s blood because he’s diabetic. He is also incontinent and if he asked she said she’d help him change his diaper.
On both June 3 and June 4, 2018, the woman said Chapman exposed himself to her, even after she told him to “cover up.”
The woman is not being identified in this story because she is the alleged victim of a sex crime. The newspaper does not identify such individuals without their consent.
Jurors were first shown a 30-second clip and later 15 minutes of video surveillance taken from the prison health services unit. Chapman can be seen in the video lying on a bed wearing a hospital-type gown.
Jackson asked the woman how she felt after Chapman repeatedly exposed himself to her.
“The feeing of disgust and the violation,” the woman said. “To see him exposed made me very angry.”
“It was not medically necessary,” the woman added shortly after.
When questioned by Devore, Chapman’s defense attorney, the woman said she had seen Chapman nude before when she was helping him get dressed or helping another member of the prison’s medical staff.
She testified she also never saw him get out of bed, leave his room or put on pants on one of the days in question.
The trial is expected to last four days. Other prison workers from the health services unit are expected to be called as prosecution witnesses.
It’s unclear if 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 on 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.
In addition to Parkinson’s disease, diabetes and incontinence, Chapman also has heart and stomach problems, high blood pressure, migraines, depression, and mobility issues. He also underwent a prostatectomy, according to court records.
Follow Jill Harmacinski on Twitter @EagleTribJill.