An Illinois nursing home employee has pleaded not guilty to six counts of soliciting to commit sexual assault on patients at the Bickford Senior Living Center in Champaign.
According to investigators, Channing Butler, 26, attempted to pay other men to have sex with patients in a memory care facility and videotape the acts, IllinoisHomepage reports. The charges read in court say Butler’s potential victims had “profound” memory problems, and it was revealed Butler knew and worked with people from several senior care facilities in the area.
Police say Butler was letting people enter the Bickford Senior Living Center in summer 2015, and allegedly trying to convince them to have sex with memory care patients and make video recordings of the assaults. Police say no sexual assaults actually took place. The victims, all over 60, were able to defend themselves, IllinoisHomepage reports. Prosecutors say one of the men Butler tried to hire told authorities about the plot and an investigation into Butler’s email accounts revealed details. But investigators say it will be difficult to prepare a strong case against Butler because some of the intended victims have serious memory problems.
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. The sheriff’s office says no assaults occurred at the county nursing home but they do not know whether any assaults occurred at the other places Butler worked, according to IllinoisHomepage. Several of Butler’s coworkers expressed shock that Butler would be involved in such a plot. Police say Butler has no previous criminal history.
Bickford officials say they have cooperated with investigators from the start. Management says it “took appropriate measures” in reviewing policies and procedures, but did give specifics about any changes that they may have made.
Butler’s next court appearance is in March. Prosecutors have not said whether anyone else will be charged.