By Jon Keller

BOSTON (CBS) – Everyone’s heard the old expression “actions speak louder than words.” The expression dates back at least 400 years, and was once used by Abraham Lincoln. And it has been one of our more enduring cliches because it cuts to the heart of a key truth about human behavior, that talk is cheap and doesn’t always correspond to reality.

We are reminded of that truism recently by the uproar over the decision to release convicted child rapist Wayne Chapman, imprisoned in the mid-1970s for attacks on two boys and convicted of four more rapes later on, not to mention his suspected involvement in a hundred or more cases for which he was never charged.

chapman2 Keller @ Large: When Actions Speak Louder Than Words

Wayne Chapman in Ayer District Court, June 6, 2018. (WBZ-TV)

Until his arraignment Wednesday on new charges of lewd conduct in prison, Chapman was set to be released because two state-appointed psychologists examined him for about an hour and declared him too old and feeble to pose a risk of re-offending. According to the Boston Herald, one of the psychologists had made a similar declaration about a man in prison for attempted rape back in 2013, and three years later he was charged with raping a 79-year-old woman.

Let’s give these two psychologists the benefit of the doubt and say they acted in good faith here, and were somehow persuaded that this serial offender could be released without risk to the public. The new allegations suggest they were terribly wrong.

What words did they hear from this predatory monster that persuaded them otherwise? We don’t know because they refuse to say. Yet another example of actions speaking more loudly than any words could.

Share your opinion with me via email at, or use Twitter, @kelleratlarge.

  1. The issue here, John is the conflict between someone who is deemed to be a threat for sexual predation and a person who has served the sentence that the Court, in its wisdom, has imposed.

    Are you suggesting that persons convicted of being sexual predators should be serving life sentences?

    I am not sure, if you get past the hysteria part of the #MeToo wave of retribution, that you would agree to a change in the law to impose that sort of penalty…

    Your remarks herein, however, logically put you on the road to that conclusion.

    I must report, however, that the collision of sexual deviancy and the laws leaves me with an uncomfortable feeling and searching for a reasonable balance between the law and personal liberty. And, I am not sure that there is a better solution than the one that is currently in place.

    I certainly can’t envision one. And I don’t think that your type of solution will pass constitutional muster.

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