3 men facing charges in 2009 sexual assault at WMU

Kalamazoo and Battle Creek
From the left: Clifford Mathis, Edgar Butler and Karl Butler. Photos courtesy of the Kalamazoo Sheriff's Office.

From the left: Clifford Mathis, Edgar Butler and Karl Butler. Photos courtesy of the Kalamazoo Sheriff’s Office.

KALAMAZOO, Mich. (WOOD) — Three men, including a suspended Kent County juvenile probation officer, are accused of sexually assaulting a student at Western Michigan University on Feb. 8, 2009.

Authorities say the three men include suspended juvenile probation officer Karl Butler, Edgar Butler IV (Karl’s cousin) and Clifford Mathis.

Prosecutors say the three men sexually assaulted the victim together in a dorm room on campus.

In an email, Kent County Circuit Court Administrator Andy Thalhammer said “the allegations against Mr. (Karl) Butler are troubling and we take them very seriously.”

“Mr. Butler was suspended as soon as we learned of them. The charges are for an incident that occurred before his employment with the Court and they did not come to light during his pre-employment criminal background check,” Thalhammer wrote to 24 Hour News 8.

Authorities say Mathis was most recently living in Indianapolis and Edgar Butler was living in Utah.

Prosecutors say all three men were students at WMU at the time the alleged assault occurred.

The men are each facing five counts of first-degree criminal sexual conduct and one count of home invasion.

The three men appeared in court Friday for a preliminary examination, which was bound over to circuit court.

If convicted, the men could face life in prison for the sexual conduct charges and up to 20 years in prison for home invasion.

Edgar Butler is also facing one count of criminal sexual conduct from a September 2008 case.

During the investigation of the 2008 case, an untested rape kit was processed. That caused the February 2009 case to come to the attention of sexual assault kit investigators in the prosecutor’s office assigned to examine them, prosecutors say.

That resulted in charges for the alleged 2009 incident, according to authorities.

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