CRIME

Man Acquitted Of Rape Accused Of Sexual Assault Of 6-Year-Old Girl

Feb 14, 2020, 5:38 PM | Updated: Jun 22, 2022, 2:33 pm

PROVO, Utah – A Utah County man recently acquitted on a 2017 rape charge was back in jail, accused in the rape of a 6-year-old Provo girl.

A woman called the Provo Police Department Thursday to report a man she had met online. She claimed the man sexually abused her young daughter.

The man was identified as 24-year-old Samuel Butler.

According to police reports, when the mother confronted Butler, he took off.

Police said when Butler left the residence, he hit another car in the neighborhood, then attempted to harm himself. He was transported to the hospital, then sent to jail.

Butler had been acquitted by a jury just two weeks before, after a Dixie State University student claimed he raped her in 2017.

The Washington County District Attorney who tried to put Butler behind bars in St. George spoke to KSL Friday about the latest allegations.

“It was kind of devastating, actually,” said lead prosecutor Ryan Shaum.

Shaum was emotional as he spoke about the trial. He first heard about Butler in 2017 when he was accused of rape.

“I absolutely felt we had good chances (to prove our case),” Shaum said. “I have gone to trial with less evidence and been successful.”

At the time of Butler’s 2017 arrest, there were other allegations of sex abuse, but no charges were ever filed. The trial judge approved jurors to learn of those accusations, but they never heard about them.

“The evidence (in those situations) wasn’t similar enough to our situation,” Shaum said.

He wasn’t sure if information about the other charges would have changed the jury’s decision.

“In retrospect, it’s a little hard to accept that,” he said.

The jury came back with a verdict in just three hours.

“I’m not mad (at the jury),” Shaum said. “I’m mad at the situation, that we’re still having to fight that fight.”

Shaum has been with District Attorney’s Office since the late 1990s, but said the case and subsequent acquittal will continue to haunt him – especially after the latest accusations.

He told KSL that despite losing the case, he still believed the Dixie State woman.

“I still call her a victim, even though (Butler) was legally acquitted, but being found ‘not guilty’ is not innocent,” Shaum said.

He said he’s coming to terms with the new allegations that a man he hoped to put behind bars has been accused of such a horrible crime against a child.

“It may be a failure on our part to obtain justice for this (St. George) victim and protect the community,” he said. “Now, we have a little girl allegedly sexually abused by the same individual. It causes you to wonder what more could have been done.”

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Man Acquitted Of Rape Accused Of Sexual Assault Of 6-Year-Old Girl