Woman says teacher grabbed ‘my butt, my arm, my leg’

The Buffalo News - - CITY & RE­GION -

ma­nently af­fected her.

“For starters, it taught me at a very young age that you can’t trust any­body in an au­thor­ity po­si­tion,” she said.

She didn’t give up on the Catholic Church. She was mar­ried in the church, at­tends Mass and sends her 5-year-old daugh­ter to a parochial school.

“I don’t think God and the re­li­gion are re­spon­si­ble for what hap­pened,” DeRosa said. “There are ac­tual hu­mans that did these things that are re­spon­si­ble for not reporting things or mo­lest­ing peo­ple.”

The crim­i­nal case

The crim­i­nal pros­e­cu­tion of But­ler started with a phone call DeRosa made as a high school fresh­man, said her lawyer, Wil­liam A. Lorenz Jr. She called a child abuse hotline. Lorenz said his files from the 2014 case show DeRosa said she made the call while she was at Ni­a­gara Catholic High School. Younger girls still at St. Do­minic Savio at the time told her they had been ha­rassed by But­ler. “I literally saw red,” she said. But­ler, who lived in the City of Ton­awanda, was placed on ad­min­is­tra­tive leave June 4, 2004, when po­lice in­formed the school of their in­ves­ti­ga­tion. He turned him­self in sev­eral weeks later on a charge of down­load­ing child pornog­ra­phy to a school com­puter. On Dec. 17, 2004, he pleaded guilty in Ni­a­gara County Court to pos­sess­ing a sex­ual per­for­mance by a child and two counts of child en­dan­ger­ment.

Be­sides the porn down­loads, po­lice ac­cused him of plac­ing his hand on one girl’s thigh un­der her dress and mak­ing an in­ap­pro­pri­ate com­ment to an­other girl. DeRosa was the girl he made the in­ap­pro­pri­ate com­ment to.

But child en­dan­ger­ment isn’t among the sex of­fenses listed in the Child Vic­tims Act.

Lorenz said he be­lieves the new law ap­plies to DeRosa’s case. But­ler al­legedly dis­played child pornog­ra­phy in class. He al­legedly touched DeRosa’s but­tocks and made her fall against his groin. And he al­legedly of­fered her sex­ual fa­vors in re­turn for her babysit­ting, which Lorenz said could be con­strued as pro­mot­ing pros­ti­tu­tion.

But­ler was sen­tenced March 4, 2005, to 10 years’ pro­ba­tion, be­gin­ning with six months in the Ni­a­gara County Jail. In 2007, he ad­mit­ted vi­o­lat­ing pro­ba­tion rules by view­ing adult porn on his per­sonal com­puter and was re­sen­tenced to 16 months to four years in state prison.

But­ler was paroled in De­cem­ber 2009 and at some point moved to Florida, where he was con­victed in Broward County in 2013 for not reg­is­ter­ing as a sex of­fender.

In Jan­uary 2017, ac­cord­ing to fed­eral court doc­u­ments, But­ler was liv­ing in Sun­rise, Fla., when he was caught in an on­line FBI st­ing. An FBI agent re­ported that But­ler re­sponded to an un­der­cover officer’s of­fer of pur­ported nude pho­tos of a 9-year-old girl by send­ing a code for a gift card in ex­change for sex­ual videos of the girl.

But­ler pleaded guilty to at­tempted pro­duc­tion of child porn, and he was sen­tenced to 25 years in August 2017 by a fed­eral judge. To­day, But­ler, 52, is an in­mate in a high-se­cu­rity fed­eral prison in Ya­zoo City, Miss.

Chased, grabbed and ig­nored

DeRosa said this week that it was com­mon knowl­edge at St. Do­minic Savio School that But­ler, who taught a com­puter class, had child porn on his school com­puter.

“It would ap­pear on the screen in the mid­dle of class. I don’t think it was on pur­pose. I think it was a pop-up sit­u­a­tion,” DeRosa said.

DeRosa, who was a school cheer­leader, said But­ler, then 36, often asked her to stay after class and asked her to babysit his chil­dren.

“He said he would pay me in sex­ual fa­vors,” DeRosa said.

The law­suit as­serts that But­ler also of­fered to let the then-13-year-old DeRosa use his cell­phone if she would strip naked for him. She re­fused, and she also re­buffed his at­tempts to get her inside his car. He would drive along­side her as she walked home from school.

“I just kept walk­ing and he just kept fol­low­ing,” DeRosa said.

There was some phys­i­cal con­tact at the school, she said.

But­ler grabbed “my back, my butt, my arm, my leg,” she said.

He also al­legedly pushed her knees from be­hind in the cafe­te­ria, caus­ing her to fall back­wards against his groin.

In Jan­uary 2003, DeRosa said, But­ler chased her through the school’s hall­ways after de­mand­ing to know whether she was wear­ing a record­ing de­vice.

“I ended up hid­ing in the bath­room and one of the other girls who was on the cheer­lead­ing team came in there with me be­cause they ob­vi­ously could see what was go­ing on,” DeRosa said.

She said other cheer­lead­ers re­ported the in­ci­dent, which led to DeRosa telling her story to ad­min­is­tra­tors.

DeRosa said she told the prin­ci­pal and as­sis­tant prin­ci­pal about But­ler’s con­duct.

DeRosa said the school’s canon­i­cal ad­min­is­tra­tor, the Rev. Ste­wart Lind­say, then called her in.

“Fa­ther Ste­wart Lind­say just said, ‘We found noth­ing.’ He called me a liar, said none of this hap­pened,” DeRosa said. “He ac­tu­ally told me not to talk. He ac­tu­ally got very an­gry and screamed at me and said, ‘I’m not speak­ing to you. You’re not per­mit­ted to talk.’ ”

“I had one meet­ing with her and her fa­ther, and it was not a con­tentious meet­ing,” said Lind­say, who is now se­nior parochial vicar at Holy Fam­ily Par­ish in Ni­a­gara Falls. “It did not hap­pen that way.”

The priest said he was un­aware of the new law­suit.

“This case was al­ready dealt with sev­eral years ago,” he said, de­clin­ing to an­swer fur­ther ques­tions.

“The dio­cese co­op­er­ated with law en­force­ment in 2004 when the dio­cese first learned of the teacher’s mis­con­duct,” said Lawlor F. Quin­lan III, an at­tor­ney for the dio­cese. “The claims against the dio­cese are with­out merit and should be dis­missed.”

Dioce­san spokes­woman Kathy Span­gler de­clined to com­ment on the al­le­ga­tions in the law­suit, but ac­knowl­edged that DeRosa’s com­plaints about But­ler in 2002-03 did not reach dioce­san head­quar­ters.

“Re­gret­tably, the com­plaints re­gard­ing Mr. But­ler did not reach the dioce­san level un­til 2004,” Span­gler wrote in an email. “When the dio­cese be­came aware of Mr. But­ler’s mis­con­duct, he was re­moved from his po­si­tion and pros­e­cuted.”

Robert Kirkham/Buf­falo News

Vanessa DeRosa said the teacher asked her to babysit his chil­dren. “He said he would pay me in sex­ual fa­vors,” DeRosa re­called.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from USA

© PressReader. All rights reserved.