DETROIT – Michigan Attorney General Dana Nessel on Wednesday announced the first criminal charges in connection with the state’s investigation into the Boy Scouts of American and claims of child sex abuse made against the organization.
Michigan officials are charging New York man Mark Chapman, 51, with 10 counts of criminal sex conduct (CSC) allegedly carried out against two children while he was serving as a leader for the Boy Scouts in Macomb County. Chapman is facing eight counts of second-degree CSC, and two counts of first-degree CSC for allegedly repeatedly abusing two victims starting when they were 13 and 11 years old.
Nessel said Wednesday that Chapman -- who was a BSA troop master and who also worked at a Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints -- abused one victim from when they were 13 years old until they were 17 years old. Those incidents “occurred at the victim’s father’s house, at Chapman’s house, and at the local church,” officials said.
The alleged abuse began in 2000, officials said. The accused man was not a member of the clergy, but was a member of the church and performed odd jobs for the church, officials said.
Chapman is accused of abusing the second victim, a family member of his, starting when the victim was 11 years old. “The abuse went on for years and often revolved around times that were designated as special opportunities for Chapman to spend time with the boy,” a press release reads Wednesday.
Chapman and his wife reportedly moved to New York state in 2007. The man is currently being held at a corrections facility in that state in connection with other child abuse charges, Nessel said.
Michigan officials are working to extradite Chapman back to the state to face the charges against him. Nessel said no statute of limitations apply in this case.
Though the two victims in this case are now adults, their identities will not be revealed, officials said.
Within the Boy Scouts of America’s bankruptcy case that was filed in February 2020, nearly 90,000 claims of sexual abuse were filed. The BSA is said to have filed for bankruptcy in an effort to block hundreds, at that time, of child sexual abuse lawsuits made against them. The number of claimants soared as the case moved forward.
Last June, AG Nessel said 1,700 of those 90,000 abuse claims were filed from the state of Michigan, but they believed that number to actually be closer to 3,000. In partnership with MSP, Nessel launched an investigation in June 2021 into the sex abuse claims filed against the Boy Scouts of America.
On Wednesday, March 9, officials said that the state has received a total of 5,000 sex abuse claims from individuals who were either in Michigan at the time of the alleged abuse, or were residents of the state and part of BSA programs in Michigan.
Since launching their investigation last year and encouraging victims and people with information to come forward, Nessel said that they have received hundreds of phone calls and tips that resulted in 152 police investigations, 180 victim interviews and 285 police reports. About 100 investigations are open and ongoing at this time, she said.
About 550 of the 5,000 claims sent from the BSA have been reviewed by Michigan officials so far.
“It remains imperative that sexual predators be held accountable, and one of my top priorities remains securing justice for survivors of abuse,” Nessel said Wednesday. “We appreciate our partnership with MSP to reach this point in this important investigation into the Boy Scouts of America. These charges are only the beginning.”
The investigation hotline remains open, and can be reached at 844-324-3374 between 8 a.m. and 5 p.m. Monday through Friday.
In July of last year, the BSA reached an $800 million agreement with attorneys representing about 60,000 victims of child sex abuse. The agreement marked one of the largest sums in U.S. history involving cases of sexual abuse, but still left disagreements between attorneys representing both sides.
Just last month, the BSA reached a tentative $2.6 billion deal with a group representing about 80,000 men who had filed sex abuse claims against the organization. The agreement -- the largest aggregate sex abuse settlement in U.S. history -- reportedly includes plans to enhance child protection measures for Boy Scouts, and establish independent oversight of settlement payment distribution for eligible abuse claimants.