FORT SMITH, AR (News Release) -- Conner Eldridge, United States Attorney for the Western District of Arkansas, announced that Robert Joseph Butler, 26 of Clayton, New Jersey, appeared today in United States Magistrate Court for his initial appearance before United States Magistrate Judge James R. Marschewski.
A complaint was filed against Butler on April 21, 2014 charging him with one count of transporting a minor with the intent to engage in sexual activity.
Butler was arrested on April 17, 2014 by Crawford County Sheriff’s Office deputies and United States Marshals at the Target parking lot in Fort Smith, Arkansas.
U. S. Attorney Eldridge stated, “Crimes against children remain among the highest priorities for our office. We are dedicated to doing all we can to identify and prosecute those who commit federal crimes targeting children, including those who seek to contact children over the internet for sexual purposes and then actually transport a minor to further that conduct, as is alleged in this case. We must do all we can to keep our communities and our children safe from these horrific crimes.”
According to the affidavit filed with the criminal complaint, Butler began communicating with the fourteen-year-old minor victim through social media and text messaging for over a year before meeting her for the first time at her home in New Mexico in late 2013. The two remained in contact, and on March 31, 2014, Butler made arrangements to meet the minor victim in Albuquerque, New Mexico. At the pre-arranged meeting, the two decided to leave town and began traveling through Texas, Oklahoma, and ultimately the Western District of Arkansas. During their travels, they engaged in sexual activity.
This case is being investigated by the Crawford County Sheriff’s Office, the U. S. Marshal’s Service and the FBI. Assistant U.S. Attorney Kyra Jenner is prosecuting the case for the United States.
A federal complaint is a written statement of the essential facts of the offenses charged, and must be made under oath before a magistrate judge. The charges in the complaint are only allegations. A person is presumed innocent unless or until he or she is proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt in a court of law.
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