State Considers New Ways to Punish Repeat Sexual Offenders

Vidushi Meel, NECIR Summer Journalism Student, Student at Lexington High School, Contributor at Huffington Post

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Photo by Vidushi Meel

Convicted sex offender Wayne Chapman served 30 years in prison, after confessing to the rape, mutilation and even murder of as many as 100 boys. A;though he’s almost finished with his official sentence, state lawmakers are now questioning whether he — or any other repeat sexual offender — should ever be let out of jail.   

Lawmakers held a hearing last week to listen to testimonies regarding the bill. While some supported a mandatory sentence bill, an advocate for victims of sex crimes argued that the legislation did not go far enough.

The proposed bill would mandate life sentences for repeat sexual predators who specifically used force to take advantage of their victims. However, Wendy Murphy, an attorney who represented Chapman’s victims, said that the current legislation would not lengthen Chapman’s prison term because there was no force used as the children were eventually persuaded by Chapman into giving consent.

“Force is not required to rape a child,””

— Wendy Murphy, Attorney at Law

Murphy said, noting that Chapman did not brute strength to molest his victims.

Chapman threatened children with knives, rope, and duct tape, but the children were ultimately victimized through Chapman’s persistent pressure, instead he did these things to his victims to “gain pleasure” from their pain. Children do not need to be restrained to rape them as they can be subdued with words and threats.  He specifically attacked children from low-income families, calling them “throwaway” kids.

Chapman was expected to be released from prison last month in June, after two psychologists declared that he was both mentally and physically ready get out of jail. They said he could be freed the next day, giving victims only one day’s notice.

Many advocates for Chapman’s victims were not only surprised but outraged that they were not given enough time to prepare for his release. “That  quick turnaround violated victims’ rights”, Murphy said. “Victims are supposed to be given fourteen days of notice before the release of their assaulter,” she said.

Officials postponed Chapman’s release another 14 days. But on the day before he was supposed to be freed, Chapman exposed himself again to prison nurses Murphy said, which is a federal sexual offense. This offense will extend his sentence, but he could be let out on probation, which is exactly what Murphy is looking to stop.