SALEM — A Cape Cod man who was sexually assaulted three years ago by a now-former Salem police officer while in protective custody at the police station was paid $90,000 by the city's insurance carrier and the officer to settle a civil lawsuit.

Brian Butler, 58, is currently serving a 3 1/2 year to 5 year state prison term for indecent assault and battery on the man, which took place early on the morning of Oct. 31, 2016, in a broom closet just off the booking area of the police station. 

The civil lawsuit was filed in U.S. District Court in Boston shortly after Butler's conviction last year, alleging violation of the man's civil rights, infliction of emotional distress and negligent supervision of Butler by the city. 

The Salem News obtained a copy of the settlement this week. 

 

The civil lawsuit was litigated for several months before the parties agreed to meet with a mediator, who then reported to the court that the parties had reached an agreement prior to the session in August. 

The settlement between the city and the Cape Cod man does not include any admission of liability by the city or Butler. 

The agreement does include a provision that the man, whose name is redacted from the document released by the city's attorney this week, not speak to the news media or disclose the terms of the settlement. But in a statement last month, his attorney, Adam Becker, said the man "is doing as well as can be expected under the circumstances." 

"Although his claims were initially met with extreme skepticism by the Salem Police, he is pleased that the allegations were taken seriously, fully investigated and that Officer Butler was held accountable for his actions," Becker, of the Keches Law Group, said. 

"My client is working and enjoying spending time with friends and family," said Becker. "He is moving on with his life and putting this unfortunate experience behind him." 

Becker also said he and his client were "grateful" for the work of prosecutors in the criminal case.

The man had traveled to Salem with his sister and her then-boyfriend to celebrate Halloween. It was a trip he had wanted to take since childhood, after seeing the movie "Hocus Pocus," set and partly filmed in the Witch City back in the 1990s. 

But a night of sightseeing and drinking led to him becoming extremely intoxicated and flooding his room at the Clipper Ship Inn. He was placed into protective custody. 

Butler, a veteran officer and at the time the husband of the city's police chief, arrived for duty on the morning of Halloween and encountered the man in a holding cell, eventually leading him to the closet for a sexual encounter. 

In the criminal case, Butler was cleared of a charge of rape, in part because it is not against the law in Massachusetts for a police officer to engage in sexual activity with a person in custody.

The civil settlement was originally deemed by the parties to be "confidential." But under recent case law in Massachusetts, settlements between public entities like cities or school districts cannot be withheld from the public, though the court does allow for redaction of personal information. 

The city's attorney, Beth Rennard, released the document this week in response to a public records request by the newspaper. 

Courts reporter Julie Manganis can be reached at 978-338-2521, by email at jmanganis@salemnews.com or on Twitter at @SNJulieManganis. 

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