Christopher Butt sentenced to 5 years for raping 11-year-old
Warning: This story contains graphic details that readers may find disturbing
- This story was published in October 2016.
A St. John's man has been sentenced to five years' prison time for brutally raping an 11-year-old girl, leaving her injured and unable to walk, sit or wash herself for days afterward.
Christopher Ford Butt, 41, pleaded guilty in June to one count of sexual assault and one count of uttering threats.
Justice William Goodridge handed down the sentence — the minimum allowed under the Criminal Code — in Newfoundland and Labrador Supreme Court on Wednesday.
The charges were laid in July 2014 when the victim's mother discovered the assaults and called the police.
Over four weeks that summer, Butt repeatedly lured the girl into his home, showed her pornographic videos, and sexually assaulted her, including anal and vaginal intercourse.
Threatened to burn down house if she told
He threatened the girl to force her to do what he wanted, including pulling her hair. He also told her that he would "beat the living shit" out of her parents and burn their house down if she told anyone what he did.
'Mr. Butt's childhood was marred by his own experiences as a victim of child sexual abuse. This does not justify or excuse his criminal acts, but it does help in understanding possible contributing forces.' — Justice William Goodridge
The physical injuries to the girl were so severe that she was unable to walk for a couple of days afterwards and couldn't take a bath or sit down to wash herself. A medical examination revealed that skin in her genitalia was broken from the assaults.
Goodridge accepted the Crown prosecutor and defence counsel's joint submission of a five-year sentence.
In his decision, the justice said the circumstances of the assaults "attract a high degree of public abhorrence," but mitigating factors included Butt's guilty plea, apology, participation in rehabilitation programs and commitment to further counselling.
"There is also the reality that Mr. Butt's childhood was marred by his own experiences as a victim of child sexual abuse," wrote Goodridge, who also noted that Butt suffers from bipolar disorder.
"This does not justify or excuse his criminal acts, but it does help in understanding possible contributing forces that are in play."
1 year, 38 weeks left in sentence
Goodridge also noted the minimum punishment would not ordinarily be imposed in a case like this, but the girl's ability to testify at a trial was uncertain, meaning a conviction wasn't guaranteed, and her parents also wished to avoid the stress of a trial.
"The quid pro quo of the plea bargain assured a conviction, and saved (the girl) and her family the added emotional stress of going through a trial," wrote Goodridge.
Butt has been in custody since Aug. 1, 2014.
For the two years, two months and four days he spent behind bars since his arrest, Butt was given time-and-a-half credit, knocking 1,194 days off his sentence, leaving him with one year and 38 weeks left to serve.