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Crime & Courts

Breaking: Lawyer has 'bona fide' doubts about pastor's fitness for child porn trial

Motion causes new delay in 4-year-old child porn case

SYCAMORE – Corey Butler, pastor of Jesus is the Way Christian Center in DeKalb, said he was doing “well” – seconds before his lawyer pulled him away and denied further comment on a motion questioning Butler’s fitness to stand trial.

“No more comments,” Bob Motta said Friday afternoon. “Not today.”

Butler’s trial on charges of possession of child pornography and dissemination of child pornography was to begin Tuesday. It now will be delayed indefinitely. If convicted of the most serious charge, sharing child porn, he faces up to 30 years in prison.

He was arrested nearly four years ago, April 27, 2015, and over the past year, Chief Judge Robbin Stuckert has consistently urged Motta to move things along. When he sprang the surprise motion Friday afternoon, Stuckert’s hands were tied. By law, Butler is entitled to a fitness evaluation because Motta says he has “bona fide” doubt his client is mentally fit to stand trial.

“No one has brought it to my attention that there was any doubt about fitness before now,” Stuckert said.

Butler will have to pay for the evaluation, which will be done by psychologist Jayne Braden, and Stuckert will hear the results at 9 a.m. March 13.

The motion states a defendant can be unfit for trial, yet not be insane.

“Through preparation for trial, concern has come to light that the defendant may be currently suffering from such a mental disease or defect,” the motion reads.

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. He was placed on electronic home monitoring in April 2015 and posted $10,000 bail to be released.

He is barred from any involvement with children.

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.

Butler has said he’s still preaching at his church, 1935 DeKalb Ave., and video of Butler was posted on its Facebook page as recently as Jan. 22.

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