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Crime & Courts

Third attorney request again delays DeKalb pastor's child pornography trial

Butler seeks new defense lawyer in case that began in 2015

SYCAMORE – A DeKalb pastor who’s been facing child porn charges since 2015 is going to get another new attorney.

Corey Butler, 39, was in court Wednesday requesting a new attorney. Alison Motta, representing Butler, told Judge Robbin Stuckert that there were “religious, spiritual and legal differences” that led to the split.

The court was supposed to discuss Butler’s fitness to stand trial Wednesday, but Stuckert said it could not if Butler no longer wanted to be represented by Motta.

Assistant State’s Attorney Alicia Caplan pointed out that the case is 4½ years old and this would be Butler’s third attorney.

“I understand he has a right to legal counsel,” Caplan said. “He has legal counsel.”

Stuckert said the case had been “languishing” in the criminal justice system for years.

Butler was arrested in April 2015 after a police search of his home uncovered what police say were images of child pornography on a computer in his bedroom, according to court records.

He was charged with possession of child pornography and dissemination of child pornography. If convicted of the most serious charge, dissemination of child pornography, Butler could face up to 30 years in prison.

During questioning by DeKalb police, Butler admitted possessing the material and that he allowed others to access, view and download it, according to court records.

Butler since has blamed pop-up ads on his computer for the images. In 2015, his attorney at the time, Tom Benno, said Butler admitted to visiting a pornography site. Or, there was another possibility.

“A lot of time there are stings,” Benno said in 2015. “There are also things called entrapment, where they go on the site, they pose as kids and they post stuff up there. All the person has to do is click once and they go, ‘We gotcha.’ ”

Butler is listed as pastor of the Jesus is the Way Christian Center in Sycamore. He has been free since posting $1,000 bail in April 2015, after Stuckert reduced his bond from $101,500 to $10,000. He was also placed on electronic home monitoring and barred from any contact with minors.

In February, Butler’s attorney Robert Motta said he had bona fide doubt about Butler’s fitness to stand trial just before his trial was set to begin.

Butler is next due in court Dec. 11. Butler told the court that he planned to hire a private attorney to represent him. Stuckert told him he needed to have a new attorney present at the next court date.

“We need to have some resolution,” she said.

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