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Crime & Courts

DeKalb pastor charged with child porn considering plea deal

Butler and prosecutors must reach agreement by May 2 or go to trial

Shaw Media file photo
Corey D. Butler (right) of DeKalb and his attorney Tom Benno of Chicago leave Judge Robbin Stuckert's courtroom in June 2015 at the DeKalb County Courthouse in Sycamore. Butler was arrested in April 2015 after police found child pornography on a computer in his bedroom, court records show. The state has offered him a plea deal, and he must either accept the deal by May 2 or face trial.
Shaw Media file photo Corey D. Butler (right) of DeKalb and his attorney Tom Benno of Chicago leave Judge Robbin Stuckert's courtroom in June 2015 at the DeKalb County Courthouse in Sycamore. Butler was arrested in April 2015 after police found child pornography on a computer in his bedroom, court records show. The state has offered him a plea deal, and he must either accept the deal by May 2 or face trial.

SYCAMORE – A DeKalb pastor facing child pornography charges must decide by May 2 whether to accept a plea deal or face trial.

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 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 any involvement with children as a condition of his bond.

Police said officers with the Illinois Internet 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 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.

Benno said Tuesday that if the state has established a burden of proof, it would behoove Butler to take a plea deal during his 9 a.m. May 2 hearing at the courthouse, 133 W. State St.

“We have a very good judge and a very good state’s attorney who understand the laws are rigid, but we can get a fair result,” he said.

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