Black Collar Crime: Evangelical Pastor Corey Butler Considering Plea Deal on Child Pornography Charges

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“Dr.” Corey D. Butler, pastor Jesus is the Way Christian Center, DeKalb, Illinois

The Black Collar Crime Series relies on public news stories and publicly available information for its content. If any incorrect information is found, please contact Bruce Gerencser. Nothing in this post should be construed as an accusation of guilt. Those accused of crimes are innocent until proven guilty.

I previously wrote about Corey Butler’s arrest. You can read the post here. Please take the time to read the post. I think you will find parts of it quite entertaining.

Corey Butler, pastor of Jesus is the Way Christian Center in DeKalb, Illinois and a former mentor for DeKalb School District 428 is considering a plea deal on child pornography charges. The Daily Chronicle reports:

Corey Butler, 36, pastor at Jesus is the Way Christian Center in DeKalb and a former mentor for DeKalb School District 428, is charged with possessing and disseminating child pornography. He was freed after posting $1,000 bail shortly after his arrest in April 2015.

He appeared in DeKalb County Court on Tuesday morning, where his lawyer, Tom Benno, said his client and the state are working toward a plea deal. Prosecutor Alicia Kaplan said details of the state’s offer would not be revealed unless it is accepted.

Should the case go to trial and Butler be convicted, he could face six to 30 years in prison if convicted of the most serious charge.

“When you’re talking about child pornography in this state, unfortunately the way the laws are codified is very archaic, and there’s very little wiggle room,” Benno said. “So if you get caught looking at one picture, you could get the same sentence as someone who raped a 5-year-old.

“Consequently, a settlement would make sure justice is served.”

At the time of Butler’s arrest, he was mentoring students at DeKalb High School and the district’s middle schools. He has been barred from an involvement with children as a condition of his bond.

Police said officers with the Illinois Crimes against Children Task Force learned child pornography was being distributed from a computer at his address in the 600 block of Kent Road in DeKalb between Feb. 28 and March 2.

In an interview with DeKalb police after his arrest, Butler admitted to possessing the material and letting others view and download it, according to court records, but later denied ever possession or distributing child pornography. He admitted he’d visited an adult porn site and blamed Internet pop-up ads for the child pornography being on his computer.

Amazingly, Butler is still pastoring Jesus is the Way Christian Center. Evidently, congregants don’t have a problem with having a child porn-loving man as their pastor.

Update

A November 1, 2017 report in the Daily Chronicle reports:

As a potential trial nears for a DeKalb pastor facing child pornography charges, his lawyer is trying to keep evidence found on his client’s computer out of the courtroom.

Bob Motta of Aurora-based Motta & Motta LLC filed a motion Wednesday to suppress evidence against Corey Butler, the 36-year-old pastor of Jesus Is The Way Christian Center in DeKalb.

Butler said he’s continued preaching to his congregation since his arrest April 27, 2015, on possession of child pornography and dissemination of child pornography charges. If convicted of the most serious charge, he could face up to 30 years in prison.

“Still pastoring. Everything is well,” Butler said Wednesday. “My congregation has been there every Sunday for the past two years.”

Motta said he’s confident that once Chief Judge Robbin Stuckert rules on his motion at a Jan. 4 hearing, a trial date will be set that day, as well.

Police said in court records that officers with the Illinois Crimes Against Children Task Force learned that child pornography was being distributed from a computer at Butler’s address in the 600 block of Kent Road in DeKalb between Feb. 28 and March 2, 2015.

The motion says Butler’s computer was removed from the house and analyzed off-site, which the warrant did not authorize.

“As to the computers, the warrant, on its face, only authorized a search of defendant’s residence and to search computers within the residence but not for the unfettered seizure of the computers to engage in further off-site forensic examination of the computers themselves,” the motion reads.

The motion asserts that the state has the burden to show its right to the evidence collected.

Motta said he is not challenging the warrant served, though.

“Not per se,” Motta said. “At this point, the warrant on its face doesn’t seem to be defective.”

It’s the evidence collected he’s trying to suppress.

“Going in, they had an idea, or at least they thought, that they would find certain things on my client’s computer,” Motta said. “Five guys living in the house, there are multiple computers and multiple people with access to his computer. It’s not as clear-cut as the state wants it to seem.”

In an interview with DeKalb police after his arrest, Butler admitted to possessing the material and letting others view and download it, according to court records, but later denied ever possession or distributing child pornography. He admitted he’d visited an adult porn site and blamed Internet pop-up ads for the child pornography being on his computer.

….

Update

On February 21, 2018, the Daily Chronicle reported:

With nearly three years gone by since he was arrested, a DeKalb pastor is set to be tried on child pornography charges in June.

Corey Butler, 36, was arrested April 27, 2015, and charged with possession of child pornography and dissemination of child pornography.

If convicted of the most serious charge, he could face up to 30 years in prison.

The final trial setting is scheduled for June 14, with the trial set to begin June 19. Butler’s lawyer, Bob Motta, said he expects to trial to last four days, although Assistant State’s Attorney Alicia Caplan thought it wouldn’t take that long.

“Maybe three days,” Motta said.

Police said in court records that officers with the Illinois Crimes Against Children Task Force learned that child pornography was being distributed from a computer at Butler’s address in the 600 block of Kent Road in DeKalb between Feb. 28 and March 2, 2015.

In an interview with DeKalb police after his arrest, Butler admitted to possessing the material and letting others view and download it, according to court records, but later denied ever possessing or distributing child pornography. He admitted he’d visited an adult porn site and blamed internet pop-up ads for the child pornography being on his computer.

Motta filed a motion in late October to suppress evidence, claiming that police unlawfully seized and analyzed evidence from Butler’s house, including the computer on which the content was found. The motion said the computer was taken before it was searched and turned over to a third party, which was not detailed in the search warrant.

….

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2 Comments

  1. Ami

    ” Butler is still pastoring Jesus is the Way Christian Center. Evidently, congregants don’t have a problem with having a child porn-loving man as their pastor.”

    This kind of shit drives me insane. I saw it happen many times in churches I attended.
    Reminds me of the victims of domestic abuse saying things like, “Yes, he hit me but he just messed up. He’s really a sweet guy! Just has a temper.”

    “Brother Wayne might be ‘too huggy’ but he’s a good man and he loves God.”

    Brother Wayne died in prison, where he was sent after being too huggy with his five year old grandson.

    When guys like this one continue to offend, everyone acts surprised, too.
    Makes me sick.

    Reply
    1. Bruce Gerencser (Post author)

      Makes me sick too. I don’t understand how congregations can turn a blind-eye to such behaviors. And even when these predators lose their church, often we find them a year or two later with a new congregation. Hey God has forgiven him, and so should we. Hell no.

      Reply

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