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Last updated: February 28. 2014 11:42PM - 2156 Views
By - elewis@timesleader.com



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HARRISBURG — The state Superior Court upheld the child rape conviction of a Hanover Township man who claimed the girl wrongfully blamed him to protect the real offender.


John Wayne Butz, 43, formerly of Sans Souci Parkway, was convicted by a Luzerne County jury in October 2012 of raping a girl when she was 12 and 13 years old in 2008 and 2009.


The girl alleged she had sexual relations with Butz at least 30 times in his residence, truck, and a campground in Columbia County. Although not related, the girl called Butz “daddy” and Butz called the girl his “daughter,” according to the criminal complaint filed by Hanover Township police and state police at Wyoming.


Butz and his girlfriend often babysat the girl, the complaint says.


Judge David W. Lupas sentenced Butz in March 2013 to 22 to 44 years in state prison on charges of rape of a child, involuntary deviate sexual intercourse, aggravated indecent assault and corruption of minors. He was deemed a sexually violent predator by Lupas when he was sentenced.


Butz has maintained his innocence, stressing the girl blamed him to protect a relative.


County Public Defender Charles Ross and Caelie McCormick Sweigart appealed Butz’s conviction to the Superior Court, suggesting Lupas prohibited evidence under the state’s Rape Shield Law that would have benefited their client during the jury trial.


Ross and Sweigart said evidence they wanted to introduce during the trial would have shown the girl’s sexual history and alleged sexual assaults by a family member. The attorneys believe the excluded evidence would have demonstrated a motive by the girl to falsely blame Butz.


The Superior Court upheld Butz’s conviction and sentence finding that Lupas’ decision to exclude evidence under the Rape Shield Law had no value and failed to show the girl was motivated by bias or hostility toward Butz.


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