Justin Chapman, an 8-year-old who had taken classes at UR in Fall of 1999, has recently been in the news as a result of his mother’s admission of faking test results about his intelligence.
His mother, Elizabeth Chapman, 29, admitted to the Rocky Mountain News that she had falsified some of Justin’s test scores. This was after the News published an 8 page report listing his unverifiable accomplishments that his mother had claimed.
Among the claims that she admitted were false were that he scored 800 on the math part of the SAT and a 650 on the Verbal part, that she helped him with his Stanford-Binet Intelligence Scale (Form L-M) test, which he scored 298-plus on, and a genius score at age 3 on the Wechsler Intelligence Scale test.
In reality he never finished the Weschler exam and there are allegations his mother helped him study the Stanford-Binet (the version used by his psychologist has been in circulation since 1972 and a copy is available in Rush Rhees Library). The Rocky Mountain News also reported that the SAT score was from one of Justin’s neighbors.
Elizabeth Chapman insists that everything about her son was not falsified and that he did take courses at UR.
The mother also claims that he recieved a diploma with a 3.75 G.P.A. from an online high school, the Cambridge Academy ? which is based in Florida. Justin’s own website claimed that he was enrolled as a full-time student at UR.
While UR declined to comment to all news outlets about Justin’s former status at the university, it is known that he attended.
Professor Paul Tipton of the Physics and Astronomy Department declined to comment about Justin’s presence in his Fall 1999 Physics 110 course.
In a Sept. 30, 1999 CT article the then-Associate Director of the College Center for Academic Support Mary Ratigan said “there is no student registered under the name Justin Chapman, but he may have made some informal arrangement.”
Senior Justin Lamontagne who was enrolled in the course remembered his presence and noted that “he seemed interested in the material.”
“He was taking notes, not fidgeting around like most 6-year-olds would,” Lamontagne continued. “I don’t remember him saying anything during the class though.”
After a Nov. 13 attempt at suicide, where Justin pretended to take an entire bottle of Liquid Motrin, he was hospitalized. When his mother tried to remove him from the hospital without the doctor’s permission he was taken from her custody and placed with a foster family where he is still living with.
Lamontagne feels sympathy for the child. “I feel for this kid,” he said. “He should be playing in the park. Instead he is in therapy for depression.”
Both Justin’s grandparents and his biological father James Maurer, who hasn’t seen Justin in 6 years, have filed for custody. His mother’s admission of lying is part of her attempt to regain custody of Justin.
Paris can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.