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Man gets 15 years in molestation plea deal

NEW PORT RICHEY — Three of the victims were age 7 when a man molested and exposed himself to them last year. The other little girl was just 5.

They will all be adults by the time the man who abused them can walk free again.

Robert Stanley Butler is 63 now, and on Monday morning he was sentenced to 15 years in prison in a plea agreement blessed by his victims' families.

They didn't want their daughters to go through another trauma — testifying in open court — according to Pinellas-Pasco Assistant State Attorney Mary Handsel.

"They asked us to accept the plea offer," she said, "and based upon the victims' requests, we agreed to the plea agreement."

Sheriff's deputies accused Butler of touching and exposing himself to the four girls between January and May 2007 while visiting Pasco County.

Butler knew the victims, said authorities, who are withholding the girls' identities.

The Sumter County man had no prior criminal record until his May 11 arrest.

He has a record now: Circuit Judge Thane Covert adjudicated Butler guilty Monday of four counts of lewd and lascivious molestation and two counts of lewd and lascivious exhibition.

But prison isn't all Butler will face. He was also sentenced to 15 years of sex offender probation and counseling upon his release. The judge also declared him a sexual predator, which means every step he takes after prison will be electronically monitored.

And under the Jimmy Ryce Act, he might not even be allowed to walk free. Under the Ryce act, the state can hold dangerous sex offenders against their will in a treatment facility after their prison sentence is up.

Jamal Thalji can be reached at thalji@sptimes.com or (727)

869-6236.

Man gets 15 years in molestation plea deal 04/07/08 [Last modified: Tuesday, April 8, 2008 9:31pm]
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