A Salem police officer is about to stand trail for allegedly raping a young man in protective custody.
57-year-old Brian Butler doesn’t deny that he engaged in sexual acts with the young man while the man was in protective custody in the wee early hours of Halloween 2016, though he maintains the whole thing was consensual.
But prosecutors beg to differ. They argue that the young man felt he had “no choice” but to give in when Butler propositioned him.
It all started when the man was placed in protective custody for being drunk and flooding his motel room at the Clipper Ship Inn.
According to his police documents, the young man took off his clothes because they were soaking wet. Then he asked for a blanket and if he could use the phone to call for a ride home. As he was dialing the number, Butler reached under the blanket and began fondling him.
That’s when the young man says Butler led him to a broom closet and asked if he could perform a sex act on him.
“What else could I do?” prosecutor Kate MacDougall quoted the man as saying. “I was in fear because he was a police officer.”
But there’s an added layer to all this. At the time of the encounter, Butler was married to the police chief, Mary Butler.
Salem News reports:
The case has received heightened attention within the community not only due to Butler’s role as a police officer at the time of the incident, but because he is the husband of police Chief Mary Butler, who filed for divorce on Friday, citing an irretrievable breakdown of the marriage. The two have been separated since the allegations came to light. She has not been present for pretrial proceedings in the case and was not in court on Tuesday.
On Friday, Mary Butler officially filed for divorce from her husband after 31 years of marriage, citing an “irretrievable breakdown” as the reason. She has not responded to any requests for comment.
Meanwhile, Butler is charged with rape and indecent assault and battery. His trial is set to begin tomorrow and will likely last about a week. If convicted, he could face up to 20 years in prison.