Mother admits falsifying claims son is genius; boy had been credited with 298 on IQ test - - Tulsa, OK - News, Weather, Video and Sports - |

Mother admits falsifying claims son is genius; boy had been credited with 298 on IQ test

(DENVER) - A mother whose son scored 298 on an IQ test at age 6 now admits she rigged the results and falsified other records that helped him gain renown as a boy genius.

Elizabeth Chapman, 29, hospitalized her son Justin in November after what she feared was a suicide attempt. She said she decided to tell the truth because her lies were hurting the boy, who is now 8, and that she wants to be reunited with him.

Chapman confessed to faking the results after the Rocky Mountain News reported on the boy's hospitalization and began investigating his mother's claims about the intelligence tests.

``I didn't plan on it,'' she told The New York Times for a story in Saturday's editions. ``It just happened, and I let things get out of control.''

After she took Justin to the hospital, Broomfield County removed the boy from his mother's care and charged her with neglect. A trial was set for March 18.

Chapman, who moved to Broomfield with Justin from New York last summer, told the News she faked documents because they ``opened a lot of doors for Justin.''

Chapman has an unlisted telephone number and could not be reached for comment Saturday.

Justin enrolled in an online high school when he was 5, took classes at the University of Rochester when he was 6, and was featured in a BBC documentary about child geniuses. He met with New York Gov. George Pataki and spoke at conferences about the needs of very gifted children.

In a report published Feb. 13, the News examined a long list of Justin's purported accomplishments, including a perfect 800 on the math section of the Scholastic Aptitude Test, a genius score at age 3 on the Wechsler Intelligence Scale test, and an IQ score of 298-plus on the Stanford-Binet Intelligence Scale, which he received at age 6.

The latter test was administered by Linda Silverman of the private Gifted Development Center in Denver. She described Justin ``as the greatest genius to ever grace the earth.''

Chapman told the News she had checked out a copy of the Stanford-Binet IQ test booklet and researched it with her son before Silverman administered the test. She told the Times that Justin himself had found the manual for the test in the University of Rochester library and memorized the answers.

The Times quoted her as saying she told Justin, ``When you take the test, make sure you don't say the full answers and make some mistakes.''

Chapman said she had apologized to Silverman, who had helped her move to Colorado and had been one of Justin's staunchest advocates. She said she had apologized to other friends and professionals as well.

Silverman, who has been called to testify in the neglect trial, has declined requests to talk about Justin.

Chapman also acknowledged that she made a computer copy of a neighbor's son's SAT scores. She said she altered the score so it appeared the perfect scores of 800 in math and 650 in verbal were achieved by Justin.

She said Justin never finished the Wechsler test at age 3 and that the score was fake.

Still, Chapman said her son was highly gifted, even without the deception. She said Justin took the University of Rochester courses himself, and did the course work necessary to receive a high school diploma from Cambridge Academy, a Florida-based online school, where he was credited with a 3.75 grade average.

``I don't mind paying for the consequences of what I did,'' Chapman told the News, ``but I don't want to be penalized for the rest of my life. A lot of the healing I need to do and Justin needs to do needs to be done together.''

Chapman said her parents and the boy's father, James Maurer, had filed for custody of the boy, who now lives with a foster family. Maurer, who lives in Raleigh, N.C., confirmed he had filed for custody but declined further comment, the Times said.

Chapman said she visited Justin two weeks ago and apologized. She said he told her he understood, and hugged her.

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