ST. GEORGE (Updated April 28) —Dixie State University Security and Campus Police arrested a 21-year-old resident of off-campus student housing in St. George Wednesday on charges of first-degree felony rape of a woman who is a Dixie State student.
Ed. note April 28: This report updates and CORRECTS an earlier report. In the report first published April 27, the person arrested was mischaracterized as a student of Dixie State University; while he is a resident of off-campus student housing, the school has confirmed he has applied but never enrolled. The arresting agency was first identified as Dixie State College Campus Police as it was written and designated in the arresting officer’s statement; the school confirms the police agency’s current name reflects its university status.
Samuel Heber Butler, 21, was arrested by campus police for the alleged rape of a female student, who reported to campus police in January that she was raped by Butler on the night of Jan. 9, according to a probable cause statement sworn by campus police Officer Eldon Gibb on April 27 in support of the arrest.
Butler was living in Dixie State off-campus housing where the alleged assault occurred, Dr. Jordon Sharp, chief marketing and communication officer for the university, told St. George News Friday; however he is not a student of the university.
On-campus housing requires tenants be students, Sharp said, but could not speak to prerequisites off-campus housing facilities may impose.
“He has never been a student,” Sharp wrote in a subsequent email exchange with St. George News. “He applied at one point but never enrolled in classes.”
Campus police were notified of the alleged rape on Jan. 10, the day following the alleged incident, according to the arresting officer’s sworn statement. The student told campus police she had met Butler on an online dating app called Tinder and had agreed to go on a date with him.
“Prior to going out with the suspect, the (alleged) victim conversed online with the suspect where the suspect told the (alleged) victim he wanted to get laid,” the officer wrote in the statement. “The (alleged) victim told this department she made it clear that she did not want to have sex with the suspect but would go get coffee with the suspect.”
The woman told police that when Butler picked her up in the parking lot of her on-campus apartment, he took her to his Vintage at Canyonlands apartment down the street instead of going for coffee.
Once inside the apartment, the officer wrote in his statement, Butler forced himself upon the woman despite the woman repeatedly telling him “no” and trying to push Butler off. Butler allegedly proceeded to have sex with the woman and, when he was finished, put his arm and leg over her so she couldn’t get up.
When police interviewed him, Butler allegedly admitted to taking the woman to his apartment and having sex with her, according to the officer’s statement of probable cause.
“The suspect stated the (alleged) victim told him that she was really horny but that she couldn’t do this because she is not that type of person,” the officer wrote in his statement.
Upon further investigation, police learned of various other similar allegations made against Butler.
“Since the interview, this department has learned that the suspect has had similar events in other areas of Utah to include Logan City, Orem City and Utah County,” Gibb wrote. “This department learned that the suspect has been listed as a rape suspect in other cases where the suspect forces himself upon the victim.”
Dixie State confirmed the investigation in an emailed statement: “Throughout the investigation, campus police worked with the county attorney’s office, who deemed there to be enough information to charge the suspect.”
Butler was arrested Wednesday and booked into Washington County Purgatory Correctional Facility.
The Washington County Attorney’s Office filed an information in 5th District Court accusing Butler of first-degree felony rape. He is scheduled to make his initial appearance in 5th District Court Thursday afternoon before Judge Jeffrey Wilcox.
Dixie State University closed its prepared statement on the matter as follows:
DSU is a dedicated advocate for its students and their safety and works hard to ensure that all students feel safe on campus. Dixie State adheres to University Policy 154, which was written to comply with the Office of Civil Rights under the Department of Education and to keep students safe from harassment and discrimination
Persons arrested or charged are presumed innocent until found guilty in a court of law or as otherwise decided by a trier-of-fact.
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