12/04/08 — Cherry worker charged in assault

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Cherry worker charged in assault

By Nick Hiltunen and Phyllis Moore
Published in News on December 4, 2008 1:46 PM

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Perry J. Butler

A Cherry Hospital worker has been charged with sexually abusing a patient.

Perry J. Butler was charged with felony sexual offense Monday. He stands accused of having sex with the patient.

Butler was released from the Wayne County Jail Tuesday under $12,000 secured bond. He was arrested by Cherry Hospital police on the afternoon of Dec. 1, his arrest report shows.

Cherry Hospital officials referred calls to the state Department of Health and Human Resources.

Butler, 36, lives in Mount Olive. He was one of several employees who were temporarily suspended for three days in August following the revelation of the death of a patient who had been left unattended for nearly 24 hours.

That investigation led to the suspension of federal funding for the hospital.

According to court records, Butler has previously been convicted of shoplifting, larceny, trespassing and writing bad checks.

A police officer with Cherry Hospital denied the newspaper's request on Wednesday to review their records, deferring all comment to the hospital police chief.

This morning, the police chief also refused access to hospital police records, and said all inquiries about the incident were the domain of the Department of Health and Human Services.

The police chief said the records are not public because they might contain information about patients at Cherry Hospital. Another local authority who has dealt with Cherry Hospital records before said that hospital arrest records are public record, and should have been released.