Tag Archive: Pastor Corey Butler

Black Collar Crime: Evangelical Pastor Corey Butler’s Child Porn Trial Begins November 6

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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.

In 2015, Corey Butler, pastor of Jesus is the Way Christian Center in DeKalb, Illinois was charged with “possession of child pornography and dissemination of child pornography.” The 34-year-old Butler was arrested after the “Illinois Crimes against Children Task Force learned child pornography was being distributed from a computer at Butler’s address.” Butler admitted being on an adult porn site, but denied possessing or distributing child pornography. I wrote about this story here.

In April 2017, I wrote a post about Butler considering a plea deal. Butler decided to go to trial instead. In November 2017, I mentioned Butler’s lawyer’s attempt to use legal maneuvers to suppress the child porn found on his client’s computer.

Three years later, Butler still hasn’t had his day in court. According to the Daily Chronicle, the court has scheduled a November 6, 2018 trial date. Astoundingly, Butler is still the pastor of Jesus is the Way Christian Center.

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.

….

Pastor Corey Butler Blames Pop Up Ads for Child Pornography on His Computer

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“Dr.” Corey D. Butler, pastor of 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.

Another day, another Evangelical pastor caught in some sort of sex scandal. Today’s black collar criminal is Corey Butler, pastor of Jesus is the Way Christian Center in DeKalb, Illinois. The 34-year-old Butler was arrested after the “Illinois Crimes against Children Task Force learned child pornography was being distributed from a computer at Butler’s address.”  Butler was charged with “possession of child pornography and dissemination of child pornography.”  If convicted Butler could spend up to 30 years in prison. While Butler admits being on an adult porn site, he denies possessing or distributing child pornography.

Butler is represented by attorney Tom Benno. Benno stated :

“He admitted to being on the porno site, which is absolutely inappropriate because he’s a pastor. What I was led to believe is it was all pop-ups.”

“For him to get a $10,000 debond, which means $1,000 and an ankle bracelet, it leaves me to believe that it’s not a slam-dunk case. If he really was a predator, if he really was a pedophile, I wouldn’t have taken the case. But more importantly, the judge would not have let him out.”

Benno needs to use a little bit of imagination here. I can think of other reasons why Butler received such a low bond. Some judges think that pastors are pillars of virtue and morality, incapable of molesting children, sodomizing teenagers, or looking at and distributing child pornography. As regular readers of this blog know, pastors are capable of evil, immoral, despicable behavior. In fact, it seems, anecdotally, that Evangelicalism has a big problem with pastors who molest children, have sex with teenagers, carry on with church members, or surf porn sites as they prepare their Sunday sermon. Pastors are, in every way, human. They are not special, nor are immune to temptation. Just like the uncircumcised, unwashed Philistines they try to convert, pastors are capable of behaving in ways that most decent people consider “sin” or wrong.

According to Katie Smith of the Daily Chronicle:

In an interview with DeKalb police after his arrest, Butler admitted to possessing the material, as well as allowing others to view and download it, according to court records.

Butler said he now denies ever possessing or distributing child pornography, and admits only to visiting an adult porn site.

Aside from the possibility of pop-up ads, Benno said Butler might be the victim of a set-up.

“A lot of time there are stings,” he said. “There are also things called entrapment, where they go on the site, they pose as kids and the post stuff up there. All the person has to do is click once and they go, ‘we gotcha.’ ”

Ah yes, the good pastor was entrapped. While entrapment is certainly a possibility, usually those who scream entrapment are trying to avoid personal responsibility for their behavior. Butler admits to being on an adult porn site, yet he continues to preach at his church.  Hey pastor, no matter how much porn you look at during the week, we know that Jesus is with you on Sunday! Sadly, the fact that he is still preaching is a perfect illustration of how many church members, when their pastor finds himself is a sticky wicket, refuse to see the man of God as a flawed, frail human who is quite capable of doing what he is accused of. Again, pastors are not above the fray. They are not morally superior. The “qualifications” for a pastor are found in 1 Timothy 3. I’ve never met one pastor, including myself, who met the qualifications set forth by the Apostle Paul. These qualifications are not goals to obtain or ideals, The Bible says is 1 Timothy 3:2, a bishop then must be. Not hope to be, but must be. Perhaps it is time for Evangelicals and their pastors to admit that regardless of what the Bible, God, or the Apostle Paul says, pastors are cut from the same cloth as the rest of us. Some of them can behave in ways that result in them being thrown in the hoosegow, not because they were preaching the gospel, but because they are lacking morally and ethically,

In 2011, Butler faced public scrutiny over stating on school board election nominating papers that his name was Dr. Corey Butler:

Butler says he received a degree from Northern Illinois University, and master’s and doctorate degrees from New Song Christian University, although no information about a school with that name could be found online. NIU officials say they have no record of him receiving a diploma.

He said his degrees were earned through Open Door Church in Hammond, Ind., which he said is run by a college accredited through another institution. Butler said he did not remember the name of the accrediting institution.

“My degrees are exclusively religious degrees,” Butler said. “They are for the purpose of ministry. I did not go to what some would call a ‘traditionally’ accredited university such as Northwestern or things of that nature.”

Butler explained he never received a diploma after never officially withdrawing from some classes in his final semester, which then lowered his GPA, he said.

“My NIU degree is a lot of pish-posh because I fulfilled all of the graduation requirements through NIU,” Butler said.

In other words, Butler is lying. Either he has the degrees he says he has or he doesn’t. Instead of producing his diplomas, transcripts, or contact information for the schools, Butler cues the music and starts a one man dance. It’s quite clear Butler is a liar, and if he will lie about his educational background, a lie that has no legal ramifications, he most certainly will lie about possessing and distributing child pornography.

Here’s “Dr.” Butler’s info from LinkedIn:

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There is no internet listing for New Song Christian University. According to the aforementioned news report, Butler said his degrees came from An Open Door Church in Hammond, Indiana. Why then are they not listed on his LinkedIn page?  Based on what information is available, it is unlikely that Butler has any degrees and is guilty of repeatedly lying about his educational acumen. Again, if a man will brazenly lie about his education, a “sin” that has no legal ramifications, one could easily conclude Butler would most certainly lie when facing criminal charges that could send him to prison. Even if Butler is found innocent, would anyone want a pastor who can’t tell the truth? Evidently, in DeKalb, Illinois, at least for the people who gather at the Holiday Inn on Sunday to hear Butler preach, the answers is YES.

This isn’t a matter of Butler making a mistake. The Jesus is the Way Christian Center website states:

Dr. Corey D. Butler, a native of Chicago Illinois was called to preach at the age of four years old. Dr. Butler formally began his ministry at the age of 12 when he preached his first sermon in 1992 Dr. Butler matriculated through the Chicago public school system and graduated from Northern Illinois University, DeKalb, IL. Dr. Butler also completed the Masters and Doctorate program at NSCU.

During his tenure at Northern Dr. Butler organized a campus bible study ministry named Jesus Is The Way Campus Outreach Ministry. In 2003 pursuant to his graduation from N.I.U., Dr. Butler spoke with his Pastor and Spiritual Father Dr. Meredith D. Shackelford who confirmed and affirmed his pastoral call. Dr. Shackelford Later That year Dr. Butler was Officially Ordained and Installed as Founder and Senior Pastor of Jesus Is The Way Christian Center.  In the summer of 2004 Jesus Is The Way Christian Center held it first services as a church. Dr. Butler accepted his call to the office of the Apostle and now serves as establishmentarian and presiding Apostle of the Fountain of Life Fellowship.  Dr. Butler in his apostolic capacity serves as spiritual father, advisor and covering for churches nationally and internationally.

Dr. Butler has and apostolic mandate to Teach, Train, Impart, Activate and Release the members of the Body of Christ into their destinies…

As I was looking for other information about “Dr.” Corey Butler, I stumbled upon a Ministry of Helps Application for Jesus is the Way Christian Center. Evidently, if someone wants to be involved in the ministry of the church or leadership capacity they must meet the following qualifications:

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Evidently, “illegitimate sexual habits” doesn’t include surfing porn sites and downloading and distributing child pornography.  I also found it interesting that the application mentioned tithing twice. A perfect story, played out by numerous men in various cities, all which seem to have two crucial components, sex and money. I hate to be blunt, but it really is all about the penis and the Benjamins.

Notes

Butler’s pastor and spiritual father is “Dr.” Meredith Shackelford. Shackelford has a doctor of ministry degree degree from Friends International Christian University (FICU), an unaccredited institution incorporated in Arkansas and located in California.  According to FICU’s website:

FICU is an International University with more than forty affiliate centers across the United States and around the world. Friends International Christian University has one of the most preeminent alumni in the world. A few of our graduates are Bishop T.D. Jakes of The Potters House, Bishop Clarence E. McClendon, Harvest Fire Ministries & Siloam Bible College Ron Kenoly- Award Winning Singer/Songwriter, Helen Baylor – Grammy Nominee, Ira Hilliard – The New Light World Outreach and Worship Centers, Bishop Don Meares, President of ICLC, to mention a few.

FICU offers lifetime learning credits,  a sure sign that an institution is either a diploma mill or lacks rigorous academic standards. The doctor of ministry program costs $3,600 plus the cost of books. There is no thesis requirement and the class schedule includes such heavyweight classes as:

  1. Leadership & Church Management
  2. Rational Pastoral Theology
  3. Advanced Homiletics I
  4. Advanced Homiletics II
  5. Ministry Internship
  6. Church Records
  7. The Church Library
  8. Church Officers
  9. Sacred Music Philosophy
  10. Sacred Music Methodology and Pedagogy
  11. Sacred Music Contemporary
  12. Practicum In Sacred Music
  13. Advanced Choreography II
  14. Creative Project in Religious Dance
  15. Philosophy Of Religious Dance
  16. Practicum In Religious Dance
  17. Advanced Audio Production & Editing
  18. Advanced Video Production & Editing
  19. Advanced International Missions Communications
  20. Independent Study in Audio Communications

Here’s Corey Butler’s testimony of call to the ministry (link no longer active):

In 1998 just prior to starting his college career then, Minister Corey D. Butler received a prophetic word from his pastor, Apostle Meredith Shackelford and the Prophetic Presbytery of An Open Door Church. The word stated in no uncertain terms that Min. Butler would not look for bible studies to attend but he would start them. It was from this prophetic word that Minister Butler was apostolically released to fulfill his purpose in DeKalb. Almost one year later Minister Butler was sitting with friend talking about the word when the Lord spoke to him clearly, Its Time. This word brought back the vivid words that were spoken over his life the year prior.  There was uneasiness in his spirit so he immediately conferred with his pastor for permission, instruction and direction. With the apostolic approval of his leader and his release God begin the prophetic journey of Jesus Is the Way Christian Center…

…Time progressed and God revealed himself in many ways to Minister Butler and Jesus is the Way Ministries. In May 2003 now, Elder Butler completed his matriculation at NIU and graduated. While leaving DeKalb there was a feeling of incompleteness because there was no one to continue the work that he has started.  The summer that preceded his graduation was trying. Elder Butler was in a state of confusion, but in a miracle moment at the An Open Door Churchs Anniversary Elder Butler and Apostle Shackelford walked pass each other pivoted and they both turned. Apostle Shackelford spoke two words Go Preach! It was from this prophetic word that the certainty of Jesus Is the Way Ministries was obtained.  Returning to NIU in the fall, Elder Butler proceeded to speak with his leader before he left for DeKalb.  This conversation was a sudden, yet pivotal shift for Elder Butler. While in conversation with Apostle Shackelford, God had instructed Shackelford to ordain Elder Butler and release him to start his own work. This word was not well received by Elder Butler, but after God spoke firmly and said Who are you to argue with my will! He abdicated.  The work began on the new church. As he left Shackelfords office God spoke and said Jesus Is the Way Christian Center.  It was from this place the labor began to organize the new church.  The fall of 2003, marks the beginning of Jesus Is the Way Christian Center.

Butler’s attorney, Tom Benno, is a “professional wrestler  in the Gladiator Aztecs Lucha Libre International league known as GALLI.”