A Lakewood Police officer is facing criminal charges after being accused of sexually assaulting a woman while he was on duty. 37-year-old Randall Shaun Butler was arrested on December 5 and charged with two felony counts of sexual assault.
According to the allegations, on November 16 at about 11 p.m., Butler saw a woman stranded near 10th and Sheridan. He approached her and offered to give her a ride in his patrol car to a location near her home. Instead, the victim says that Butler drove her to a vacant parking lot near 25th and Sheridan, where he allegedly sexually assaulted her. She says he then left her there and drove away in his patrol car.
Butler was placed on administrative leave once the allegations were reported and resigned from the department on November 26. Police have urged anyone else with allegations of sexual misconduct committed by Butler while on duty to call their tip line at 303-763-6800.
Attorney contributor Dan Lipman represents sexual assault victims in civil lawsuits. We have asked him for some insight into the legal rights of those who have been sexually assaulted by police officers:
While most police officers honor their oaths to protect and serve, a small handful are bad apples who commit heinous crimes, such as the use of excessive force or sexual assault. No one is above the law, and it's crucial that the officers who commit sexual crimes are held accountable for their actions. In addition to criminal penalties, these officers and their departments can sometimes be held liable for damages in a sexual assault lawsuit.
The victims of sexual assault deserve justice. When the perpetrator is someone in a position of authority and trust, it's important to determine if any third parties are also at fault for enabling them to commit these heinous crimes. In cases involving police officer sexual assault, we must investigate whether the department was complicit in any way, such as attempting to cover up the assault. In cases involving negligence by the department, the victim likely has strong grounds for a lawsuit.
If you or a loved one has been sexually assaulted by a police officer or another law enforcement official, the legal system can help you find justice. Consider speaking to an experienced sexual assault survivors lawyer to learn more about your legal options.