- Essex District Attorney’s Office
Media Contact for Former Salem Police Officer Sentenced to State Prison for Indecent Assault & Battery
Carrie Kimball Monahan, Director of Communications
Salem, Massachusetts — A former Salem police officer was sentenced to three and a half to five years in state prison after being convicted by a jury for indecently assaulting a 28-year old man in protective custody on Halloween 2016. The jury found him not guilty of rape.
“Clearly changes in the law need to be made, but in the meantime, this verdict does provide some measure of accountability to the defendant and, hopefully, provides the victim with some solace,” Essex District Attorney Jonathan Blodgett said. “The courage of this young man cannot be overstated. What happened to him was not his fault, and, as far as I am concerned, should be a crime regardless of any claims of consent. I will work with the Legislature to enact a law that protects individuals who are in the custody of the police from this type of predatory behavior.”
Essex Assistant District Attorney Kate MacDougall requested a four to five year state prison sentence. In her sentencing argument, ADA MacDougall stated, “The most fundamental value espoused by law enforcement is to serve and protect. Mr. Butler spit all over that value and caused harm not only to the victim but to the entire law enforcement community.”
Judge Helene Kazanjian imposed the sentence after hearing an impact statement from the victim, who stated, “I’m not ok. I’m not good. Frankly none of this should be happening and for me, it won’t ever stop.”
ADA MacDougall introduced evidence that proved that Brian Butler, 57, reached under a blanket and touched the victim’s genitals without his consent. The victim was in protective custody after Salem Police were called to the Clipper Ship Inn because the victim was heavily intoxicated and had flooded his hotel room. The victim, then-28, was visiting Salem to participate in the Halloween festivities.
The defendant was acquitted on the rape charge. The Commonwealth attempted to prove that any apparent consent by the victim could not have been voluntary given that he was in police custody. The law, as it currently stands, does not specifically state that individuals in police custody cannot consent.
ADA MacDougall praised the work Detective Lt. Steve McDonald of the Essex State Police Detective Unit as well as the Salem Police on the investigation. Maureen Wilson Leal was the Victim Advocate.
The defendant was represented by Attorney Kevin Mitchell.