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Child rape suspect who fled Boston in 1996 is apprehended in Rhode Island

A Dorchester man was arrested last week in Rhode Island after fleeing the Boston area following his November 1996 indictment on child rape charges, according to the office of Suffolk District Attorney Daniel F. Conley.

Lens Chappell, 66, pleaded not guilty to charges including eight counts of child rape and three counts of indecent assault and battery on a child in Suffolk Superior Court on Tuesday, Conley’s office said. He is being held on $750,000 cash bail.

On Nov. 22, 1996, Chappell was indicted by a Suffolk County grand jury for allegedly sexually assaulting four different female children between 1982 and 1996. The case was initiated when two of the children, all of whom knew each other and Chappell, disclosed the rapes to authorities, according to Conley’s office.


Boston police believe Chappell traveled to Rhode Island following the indictment, where he lived under the alias “Carter Jefferson,” Conley’s office said.

Law enforcement officials arrested Chappell at a Robin Street residence in Providence on Nov. 18. The defendant denied being Chappell at the time, but police confirmed his identity with fingerprints. He was returned to Boston on Monday, according to Conley’s office.

Chappell will return to court Dec. 19 for scheduling of a trial date, the district attorney’s office said.

Rachel Riley can be reached at rachel.riley@globe.com.