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Salem police chief talks of alleged rape at station by husband

Salem police officer Brian Butler (left) was charged with one count each of rape and indecent assault and battery.
Salem police officer Brian Butler (left) was charged with one count each of rape and indecent assault and battery. Ken Yuszkus/pool

SALEM — Salem’s police chief, whose husband was arraigned Wednesday on accusations that he raped a man in the police station on Halloween, said the rest of her department shouldn’t be judged by the alleged actions of one officer.

Chief Mary Butler spoke to reporters after Officer Brian Butler, 56, was arraigned in Salem District Court on charges of rape and indecent assault and battery.

“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," said Chief Butler, who is taking time off because of her husband’s arrest.

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Bail was at $10,000 for Officer Butler after a prosecutor described how the alleged attacks occurred in the booking area and in a broom closet at police headquarters.

In a statement, Salem Mayor Kimberley Driscoll said the city plans to take steps to fire the officer and offered support for the police chief.

“I fully expect that she is capable of leading the department with the same high level of integrity and commitment she has demonstrated since her appointment and throughout her career,” Driscoll said.

In a police report filed in court, authorities wrote that Salem police went to the Clipper Ship Inn on Bridge Street at about 3:07 a.m. on Oct. 31, where they found an intoxicated man wearing “soaking wet” clothing because he had flooded his motel room.

The man was taken into protective custody and driven to the police station, where he removed his clothes and fell asleep in a holding cell. Between 6 a.m. and 9 a.m., the man was lying naked in his cell when Butler asked if he could do anything to help him. The man asked for a blanket, which Butler provided.

He also asked to use the telephone, and while standing outside the cell, Butler allegedly placed his hand around the man’s hip in a suggestive manner, asked whether he could touch the man’s genitals, and molested him, the report said.

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“He asked if it was, ‘OK’ and I said, ‘Yes’ out of fear,” the man wrote in a statement. He contacted police with his accusations Nov. 5.

After the man finished using the phone, he said, Butler took him to a broom closet near the booking room and cells and asked to perform oral sex on him, according to the statement.

“In fear, I said, ‘Yes,’ ” the man wrote in a statement.

The man told investigators Butler raped him in the closet, Essex Assistant District Attorney A.J. Camelio said in court.

Camelio said video from the station “confirms nearly everything” in the man’s account.

The man told police he was still intoxicated when Butler approached him, Camelio said, and “was afraid to do anything to stop it because he was in custody.’’

Not-guilty pleas were entered on Butler’s behalf. Defense lawyer, Randy Chapman, said the allegations raise questions about whether the man consented to the encounter.

“The government would have to prove beyond a reasonable doubt in this case that there was a lack of consent,” Chapman said outside court.

Salem police placed Butler on administrative leave with pay the same day the man reported the accusations, the report said.

While meeting with officers, Officer Butler apologized “for putting you guys through this” and said he “gave into temptation,” according to another police report.

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Laura Crimaldi can be reached at laura.crimaldi@ globe.com.