|For Immediate Release
Case # 05SF0821
October 17, 2008
|Susan Kang Schroeder
Public Affairs Counsel
MAN SENTENCED TO 126 YEARS TO LIFE FOR VIOLENT DECADE-LONG SEXUAL ABUSE OF YOUNG FEMALE RELATIVE
SANTA ANA – A man who terrorized a young female relative for almost a decade was sentenced today to 126 years and eight months to life in prison following a conviction for several counts of physical and sexual abuse. Robert Butterfield, 40, was found guilty by a jury on July 23, 2008, of 10 felony counts of forcible lewd acts on a child under 14, two felony counts of sodomy by force, two felony counts of lewd acts upon a child, two felony counts of corporal injury to a child, child abuse, criminal threats, and one misdemeanor count of brandishing a deadly weapon. The sentencing enhancement allegations for substantial sexual conduct with a child and lewd acts on multiple children were found true.
During the trial, the People presented evidence that Butterfield had a history of violence and unreported domestic violence against several members of his family, including four young children. The defendant was sometimes homeless and moved frequently between homes and hotels in Orange County.
Between June 1996 and June 2005, Butterfield physically and sexually assaulted a young female relative, Jane Doe #1, when she was between 7 and 16 years old. The defendant physically assaulted the victim by hitting and punching her in the back of the head and places that were covered by clothing to keep people from noticing the bruises. He left a scar on the victim’s shoulder from stabbing her with a knife and beat her with a rolled extension cord. In June 2004, the defendant punched the victim, then 14, in the nose and eye when she arrived late to his house for dinner.
Beginning when Jane Doe #1 was 7 years old, Butterfield sexually assaulted her by touching her breasts and progressing to forcible rape, sodomy, and oral copulation. Jane Doe #1, who had been beaten and sexually abused consistently for years by Butterfield, was terrified of the defendant and did not come forward to law enforcement for fear of what the defendant may do to her or her family.
On one occasion between June 2003 and June 2005, Butterfield also sexually assaulted Jane Doe #1’s sister, Jane Doe #2, when she was between the ages of 11 and 12 years old by sexually touching and sodomizing the victim. During trial, the People also presented evidence that Butterfield beat and physically abused two young brothers, ages 4 and 5 years old.
On July 24, 2005, Butterfield was living in a second floor room at the Ana Mesa Motel in Costa Mesa. At approximately 10:00 p.m., a Costa Mesa police officer was on patrol driving down Harbor Boulevard and saw a struggle through Butterfield’s uncovered window. The officer, who could hear Jane Doe #1 screaming for help when he got to the parking lot, witnessed Butterfield, who is 6’5’’ and was 275 pounds, through the window attacking the victim and called for back-up. Butterfield put the victim in a choke hold to strangle her, threw her across the room, grabbed her by the neck to strangle her again, and threatened to “shank” Jane Doe #1 after pulling out a knife. When officers entered the room they found the victim’s mother, who had bruising to her lip and arm from trying to disarm Butterfield, sitting on a nearby couch with her two young sons. Officers arrested the defendant at the scene and the children were placed in the custody of the Orange County Social Services Agency.
Deputy District Attorney Tony Ferrentino of the Sexual Assault Unit prosecuted this case.