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Illinois Nursing Home Employee Accused in Plot to Record Sexual Assaults on Patients

Jan 26, 2016

An Illinois nursing home employee entered a not guilty plea to six counts of soliciting to commit sexual assault on patients at the Bickford Senior Living Center in Champaign.

Investigators say Channing Butler, 26, attempted to pay other men to have sex with patients in a memory care facility and videotape the acts, IllinoisHomepage reports. Butler's potential victims had "profound" memory problems, the judge said, and it was revealed Butler knew and worked with people from several senior care facilities in the area. Prosecutors have not said whether anyone else will be charged.

Police say that last summer (2015), Butler was letting people enter the Bickford Senior Living Center, and was allegedly trying to convince them to have sex with memory care patients and record the acts. Police say no sexual assaults actually took place. The victims, who were all over 60, were able to fend off the assaults, IllinoisHomepage reports. Prosecutors learned of the plot when one of the men Butler tried to hire came forward. An investigation into Butler's email accounts revealed details of his plans. Investigators say it will be difficult to prepare a strong case against Butler because many of the intended victims have serious memory problems and cannot reliably describe what happened.

Butler has worked at other facilities in the area, authorities say, including the Champaign County Nursing Home, Helia Healthcare, C-U Nursing and Rehab, and Autumn Fields Assisted Living Community. Investigators are looking into whether assaults occurred at any of those places. The sheriff's office says no assaults occurred at the county nursing home, according to IllinoisHomepage. Several of Butler's coworkers expressed shock that he would engage in such activity. Butler has no previous criminal history, police say.

Bickford's management said it has cooperated with investigators from the start. Management says it reviewed policies and procedures, but did not offer any specifics about any changes that may have been made.

Butler's next court appearance will be in March.

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