Pembroke sex offender Chapman gets 10 to 30 years
A Pembroke man convicted of bringing a young girl into the basement of his apartment and dropping his pants in front of her was sentenced to serve up to 30 years in prison yesterday after prosecutors showed he intended to sexually assault the girl.
A jury found 53-year-old Fred Chapman guilty of attempted felonious sexual assault in November. At his sentencing yesterday in Merrimack County Superior Court, prosecutor Rachel Harrington asked for the sentence of 10 to 30 years ultimately imposed by Judge Richard McNamara, calling the offense just the latest in a string of sex crimes committed by Chapman in the last two decades.
The victim in this case, who was 8 years old when the incident happened in May 2012, testified at trial that Chapman, who lived in their apartment on Broadway in Pembroke, had offered her and her brother each $2 to help him rake the yard. Chapman then offered her an additional $5, told her brother to rake on the other side of the apartment and took the girl into the basement where he said her rake belonged, according to the girl.
There, Chapman asked if she wanted to “do it” and pulled down his pants. The girl screamed, told Chapman she just wanted to “live a normal life,” and ran upstairs to her mother, Harrington said.
Chapman, in an interview with a Pembroke detective played in court, admitted to going into the basement with the girl and to pulling down his pants. But he denied that he planned to sexually assault her.
Yesterday, Harrington said Chapman didn’t deserve any credit or leniency “for the fact that the child was smart enough and brave enough to get away from him.” Chapman’s lawyer, Melinda Siranian, argued the contrary, saying Chapman was convicted of attempted felonious sexual assault based only on what he said when he asked the girl whether she wanted to “do it.”
“There was no physical element to this conviction. There was no threat made. There was no action made. There was no violence. There was no violence threatened,” Siranian said, adding that Chapman didn’t attempt to stop the girl from leaving the basement.
Siranian asked McNamara to impose a lesser sentence of 3½ to 7 years in prison on the attempted felonious sexual assault conviction.
But in giving his sentence, McNamara noted the affect of the crime on the now 9-year-old victim, who the prosecutor said was not in court yesterday out of fear that Chapman plans to hurt her because she testified against him.
In a statement written by the girl and read in court yesterday by Karen Sotile, a victim’s advocate for the county attorney’s office, she said Chapman ruined her life.
“At school I stay in a big group because I’m scared Fred will get out of jail and go to my school and wait for me and do what he did to me again but hurt me even more and kill me,” Sotile read from the letter written on lined notebook paper. “I hope that Fred goes to jail for the rest of his life.”
Harrington said the victim is receiving counseling, but she noted that the girl’s mother, who was in court yesterday, has lost her job because of the added attention her daughter now needs. Harrington also asked that a restitution hearing be held in 30 days, once the family has a better idea of whether insurance will cover the girl’s counseling. McNamara granted the request.
In arguing for the maximum sentence allowed by state law, Harrington said yesterday that Chapman was convicted in 1979 of contributing to the delinquency of a minor. But she couldn’t provide McNamara with further details on that crime because the files have been destroyed.
In 1990 Chapman was convicted of aggravated felonious sexual assault after he approached a 20-year-old woman outside her work with a knife, drove her to a secluded wooded area and raped her, Harrington said. He served his full sentence and was released in 2004, she said.
Then in 2006 he was convicted of providing alcohol to two young women, ages 17 and 18. Chapman requested they have sex with him and then touched their breasts without their permission when they refused, Harrington said.
“His victims are getting younger,” she told McNamara. “He started with somebody who was 20 years old, who was intimately known to him in some form, although she had attempted to distance herself from him and did not wish to have contact with him any longer. And then he moved to 18- and 17-year-old girls in the community. . . . And now in front of the court is an 8-year-old child who was a next door neighbor.”
Chapman showed little response as McNamara announced his sentence.
“You need to be deterred, sir, so you can’t harm any other people,” the judge said.
Chapman was also sentenced yesterday to one year in the county jail on a charge of indecent exposure, which will be served alongside his other sentence.
(Tricia L. Nadolny can be reached at 369-3306 or firstname.lastname@example.org or on Twitter @tricia_nadolny.)