WOBURN — A criminal trial for serial child rapist Wayne Chapman was postponed Monday and did not start in Middlesex Superior Court as previously scheduled. 

Chapman, 71, a longtime suspect in a Lawrence cold case, is facing additional criminal charges for allegedly offending in state prison last June. His bail stands at $25,000. 

While in the the skilled nursing center at MCI-Shirley, Chapman was "witnessed by staff with his genitals exposed on one occasion and observed masturbating on another occasion in full view of the Department of Corrections employees and nursing staff," Middlesex District Attorney Marian Ryan said in a statement.

He was indicted by the Middlesex County grand jury on charges of open and gross lewdness, wanton and lascivious acts and as a habitual offender.

The case is continued until July 18 for a pretrial conference in Middlesex Superior Court. 

The Supreme Judicial Court recently said Chapman could be released from state prison, ruling that a superior court judge's order must be followed.

However, Chapman still has the $25,000 bail in the new criminal case and a defense attorney previously said he was indigent, saying he did not have the financial resources to post such bail. 

Chapman has admitted to abusing some 100 boys in the United States and Canada, starting when he was a child himself.

In 1975, Chapman was convicted of raping two boys in Lawrence. He also admitted to sexually assaulting as many as 100 other boys and remains a longtime suspect in the August 1976 disappearance of Angelo “Andy” Puglisi Jr., 10, who vanished from a South Lawrence swimming pool.

Chapman became eligible for release from 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, 71, will need to go to a facility that can manage his deteriorating health as he cannot live independently, his defense attorney Eric Tennen said previously. 

Tennen has said that Chapman is ever was released from prison, Chapman would have to go to a specialized facility that can accommodate his daily medical needs.

Follow staff reporter Jill Harmacinski on Twitter @EagleTribJill.

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