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Former Metro Detroit Boy Scout official denied bond on sex assault charges

A New York man who once led a local Boy Scout troop was ordered held without bond Monday.

Mark Chapman, 51, is the first person to be charged by Michigan Attorney General Dana Nessel in connection with her office's investigation into allegations of sexual abuse of Michigan residents involved in the Boy Scouts of America.

Chapman was arraigned Monday in Macomb County District Court on two counts of first-degree criminal sexual conduct and eight counts of second-degree criminal sexual conduct involving two alleged victims.

He was charged earlier this month, and Nessel's office said at the time of the alleged incidents more than 20 years ago, Chapman was involved in the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints in Roseville and the Boy Scouts.

Mark Chapman, 51, was arraigned Monday in Macomb County District Court on two counts of first-degree criminal sexual conduct and eight counts of second-degree criminal sexual conduct involving two alleged victims.

Chapman, who is married, was an employee and scout leader at the church, although he was not a religious leader, Nessel said. He held janitorial-type jobs at the church, according to Nessel's office.

Chapman's attorney Samuel Bennett said Monday he is "waiting to review discovery" in the case before he comments. He said he expects to have more details on April 6, Chapman's next scheduled court date.

One case, in which Chapman is charged with both first-degree criminal sexual assault counts and two of the second-degree charges, involved a male family member who was about 11 years old when the alleged abuse began, Nessel’s office said, adding that 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.”

Another case, in which Chapman faces six of the second-degree criminal sexual conduct charges, is in connection with “alleged abuse that began in 2000 around the time the alleged male victim was 13 or 14 and continued until he was 17 years old and a senior in high school,” Nessel’s office said.

The alleged assaults took place at the alleged victim’s father’s home, at Chapman’s residence and at the church, Nessel's office said. 

He was extradited to Michigan from New York, and Judge Kathleen Tocco of 39th District Court in Roseville on Monday arraigned him via Zoom from the Macomb County Jail. 

"We appreciate our ongoing partnership with MSP to reach this point in this important investigation," Nessel said. "These charges are only the beginning. We ask anyone with information that could assist our BSA team to call our investigation tip line. We remain committed to securing justice for survivors of abuse." 

Chapman had been in a New York state correctional facility since 2013 for a conviction on a charge of third-degree criminal sexual act, according to the New York State Department of Corrections and Nessel's office.

Nessel's office said Chapman was eligible for parole beginning earlier this month from the Mohawk Correctional in Rome, New York, and was charged so he could not leave the criminal justice system, Nessel told the Associated Press. 

Tocco denied Chapman bond on the first-degree criminal sexual conduct charges, but set bond for him on the other charges at $300,000 cash/surety.

A probable cause conference is scheduled for April 6. A preliminary examination is scheduled for April 13. 

Nessel’s office said staff is examining about 5,000 claims sent from the Boy Scouts of America national organization for review. The review of 550 claims has been completed and about 60 have been sent to Michigan State Police for further investigation.

Nessel launched the joint investigation with Michigan State Police last June after abuse allegations came to light during civil litigation.

Both agencies asked the public last year to report alleged instances of abuse that would assist in the joint investigation.  

Nessel said in July that her office had learned that 1,700 sex abuse claims filed against the BSA were from Michigan residents. She said her office believed that there could be as many as 3,000 abuse victims in the state.

The team of investigators to the BSA probe included prosecutors, special agents and victim advocates from the Michigan Attorney General's Office, and a confidential tip line was set up to gather anonymous tips. Tips can be called into 844-324-3374.  

The Boy Scouts last month reached a tentative settlement with a bankruptcy committee representing more than 80,000 men who say they were molested as children by Scout leaders and others. All told, the compensation fund would total more than $2.6 billion, which would be the largest aggregate sex abuse settlement in U.S. history.

bwilliams@detroitnews.com