A Carthage man has pleaded guilty to the inappropriate touching of a child under age thirteen. Ronnie Butler, age 74, appeared in criminal court on Friday and pleaded guilty to one count of Aggravated Sexual Battery. Butler was sentenced to ten years to serve in the Tennessee Department of Correction. The sentence must be served at one hundred percent without the possibility of parole. In addition, Butler was placed on the Tennessee Sexual Offender Registry and ordered to Community Sex Offender supervision for life at the conclusion of the prison sentence.
“This case had some very challenging circumstances,”
said District Attorney Jason Lawson. “Detectives Hailey and Babcock of the Smith County Sheriff’s Office did a great job getting us enough evidence to prosecute. I am so proud of the young victim for the tremendous amount of courage she showed in coming forward and seeing the case through to the end.”
Lawson also commended the victim’s family for giving her strength. “It is a scary thing for a young victim to disclose something like this. Although she had came forward to her mother, when she first met me she couldn’t even talk about it. It is beyond question that the support of her family gave her the confidence to be able to share with me what she had been through, and that was vital to being able to prosecute this case.”
Butler was indicted on this case by the Smith County Grand Jury in 2019. Although initially released on bail, he was taken back into custody in May of this year when Judge Kane granted prosecutors’ motion to revoke his bail for actions delaying the conclusion of the case. He has remained in custody since the revocation.