Salem officer pleads not guilty to rape

Salem Police Officer Brian Butler, left, is arraigned in Salem District Court.
Salem Police Officer Brian Butler, left, is arraigned Wednesday in Salem District Court. His attorney, Randy Chapman, is on the right. –Ken Yuszkus / Pool

SALEM, Mass. (AP) — A Salem police officer who is the husband of the city’s police chief was held on $10,000 bail Wednesday after pleading not guilty to sexually assaulting a man in a station closet.

Patrolman Brian Butler was arraigned on charges of rape and indecent assault and battery.

Butler, 56, and a 24-year veteran of the department, assaulted an intoxicated man who had been taken into protective custody in the early morning hours of Oct. 31, prosecutors said.

The man had flooded his hotel room and because his clothes got wet, he was sleeping naked in a cell, authorities said. The alleged assault occurred in the booking area and a closet after the man had asked Butler for a blanket.


The man reported the alleged assault on Nov. 5. He told investigators he felt compelled to go along because he was in fear and in police custody.

Butler told investigators the encounter was consensual.

“The government would have to prove beyond a reasonable doubt in this case that there was a lack of consent,” Randy Chapman, Butler’s attorney, said after the arraignment.

Butler has been put on paid administrative leave.

His wife, police Chief Mary Butler, is taking voluntary leave.

“The alleged actions of one person shouldn’t reflect badly upon the department and the officers that are working very diligently every day to do their job,” Mary Butler said outside court.