A police officer in Salem, Massachusetts is accused of raping a young man in protective custody in 2016, but Patrolman Brian Butler and his defense lawyer claim it was consensual.
On the morning of Halloween, 2016, Butler, now 57, engaged in sexual acts with the young man. However, the victim — who was in a holding cell in the Salem police station, naked but for a blanket — maintains he was coerced.
Prosecutor Kate MacDougall quoted the victim at an early hearing on Tuesday (19 June): ‘What else could I do? I was in fear because he was a police officer.’
MacDougall argued that was not consent at all.
At the hearing on Tuesday, a jury was also selected.
A deeply layered case
Butler, a 24-year veteran of the force, resigned when the allegations came to light.
Another complicated layer of the story is that Butler is married to Police Chief Mary Butler. She filed for divorce citing ‘an irretrievable breakdown of the marriage’.
When the incident occurred, the young man was visiting Salem. He wound up in protective custody after heavy drinking and flooding his room.
According to statements, he took off his wet clothes because they were difficult to sleep in. He asked for a blanket and a phone call. While the victim was making the call, Butler allegedly touched him under the blanket.
Then, Butler took him to a closet and asked to perform a sex act on him.
Defense lawyer Kevin Mitchel is arguing that police officers engaging in consensual sex acts is not against the law.
Judge Hélène Kazanjian said at the early hearing: ‘There are issues around consent as to whether someone is in fear.’
Now it will be up for the jury to decide. They have been told to avoid news and social media of the case.
Butler faces 10-20 years in prison for indecent assault, battery, and rape if he is found guilty.
H/t: The Salem News