Gov. Baker pushes for tougher penalties for child rapists

Charlie Baker
Charlie Baker –Matthew J. Lee/Globe Staff/File

BOSTON (AP) — Massachusetts Gov. Charlie Baker has re-filed legislation aimed at toughening penalties for child rapists.

The Republican governor pointed to the case of Wayne Chapman, a 71-year-old convicted child rapist. The state’s highest court earlier this month ruled Chapman can no longer remain civilly committed based on the state’s sexually dangerous person law because two mental health professionals ruled he is not sexually dangerous.

The Supreme Judicial Court rejected arguments from Baker and Democratic Attorney General Maura Healey who said juries or a judge should decide whether the mental health professionals were correct.

Baker’s bill would mandate that any disagreement among experts would result in a trial at which a judge or jury could hear evidence about whether a person remains sexually dangerous and make a decision about release.