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Friday, August 17, 2007

Former state trooper faces multiple charges

CLEARFIELD -8-17-2007-A former state trooper is charged with soliciting sexual favors while serving with the Clearfield-based state police. The charges were announced at a press conference held at the Clearfield County 911 Center Thursday.

Charles T. Butler III, 37, Baughman Cemetery Road, Philipsburg, is charged with five counts of bribery in official and political matters, seven counts of official oppression, one count of indecent assault, six counts of stalking, 10 counts of harassment, and one count of unlawful use of a computer which stem from a year-long investigation into allegations from multiple victims, according to Clearfield County District Attorney William A Shaw Jr. and Cpl. Gregory Bernard of the state police Internal Affairs Division's Bureau of Integrity and Professional Standards in Hollidaysburg.

The bribery and unlawful use of a computer charges are third-degree felonies that carry up to seven years in prison each.

The victims said Butler solicited them for sexual favors in exchange for his representation that traffic citations would not be issued or enforced. The allegations identify multiple instances where Butler would have sexual relations with victims while on duty in a state police vehicle. The complaint says Butler also used a state police computer to identify, locate, and contact potential victims in an effort to initiate personal relationships.

The investigation was conducted by the state police Internal Affairs Division after receiving an anonymous tip in June 2006. The investigation was able to identify seven alleged victims. Butler was placed on restricted duty in February while the investigation was conducted. He resigned from the police force Aug. 15.

Butler was arraigned Thursday by District Judge James Hawkins and was released upon posting $25,000 straight bail. A preliminary hearing is scheduled for 11 a.m. Sept. 14.

"It is an absolute concern when a police officer violates the public trust," Shaw said. "This case should not be taken as a negative reflection on the conduct of the Pennsylvania State Police. Instead, our community should recognize that the state police has no tolerance for inappropriate conduct by their troopers and they make every effort to guarantee the highest standards of law enforcement are followed.

We have many hard working and honest state troopers in Clearfield County and our community should have complete trust and confidence in these fine officers."
"I am appalled that a trooper would do this," Bernard said. "The Pennsylvania State Police will not tolerate, and do not condone this type of behavior."

According to an Associated Press report, one woman told police that she and Butler, a trooper for nine years, had a long relationship that included having sex on the hood of his patrol car more than a dozen times.

She said Butler let her drive despite knowing she had a suspended license and would stop at her house while on-duty to have sex, spending up to two hours per visit, according to a probable cause affidavit.

The woman said she and Butler even set a wedding date but that she broke off the relationship after she saw Butler walk into a restaurant with his wife.

Butler took another woman to a bar, knowing that she was violating her probation by drinking, then promised not to tell her probation officer, police said. Butler fondled the woman, repeatedly suggested they should have sex, police said. She said he eventually called her so frequently that she had to change her telephone number.

Another woman had a speeding ticket that Butler had a district judge change to a lesser violation without any "points" and even offered to pay her fine, authorities said. The woman told police that Butler repeatedly suggested they have sex, showing up where she worked and calling her often.

On another occasion, Butler used a state police computer used to trace vehicle registrations to track down a woman he was interested in, police said. Information from Dubois Courier Express

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