Leola man gets 12 years probation for video-recording girls at slumber party

 

A Leola man will serve 12 years on probation for installing hidden cameras last year at a church-group slumber party attended by several girls and young women.

Lancaster County President Judge Joseph Madenspacher warned Gregory S. Butler that any violation of probation would involve much harsher consequences.

"I think this is disgusting, to say the least," Madenspacher said. "If you come back before me, I don't predict good things for you."

Butler, 31, installed the cameras in a bathroom and a bedroom at his former home in Akron, recording at least nine females at the Jan. 7, 2012, party.

The victims - two girls, the rest young adults - were video-recorded, without their knowledge, in full or partial nudity, police reported.

Butler was a volunteer youth pastor, officials said.

"I am ashamed of what I've done," Butler told the judge. "I regret very much the people that I hurt and the way I hurt them. I had not thought of the ways that would affect people.

"I realize there is no satisfactory answer for this."

Butler is married and was very active at church, defense attorney Scott Oberholtzer told the judge.

He grew up in a missionary family, living for some time in Brazil, Oberholtzer added.

Butler pleaded guilty in December to 10 misdemeanor charges in exchange for the probation term.

Madenspacher accepted the agreement and ordered that Butler register his whereabouts with police for the rest of his life.

The victims approved the plea deal, Assistant District Attorney Megan King said in court.

Butler said, through his attorney, that his best friend had committed suicide just before the crimes. Butler was in a deep depression, Oberholtzer said.

Madenspacher called the acts an "invasion" of the victims' privacy.

"There's no (good) reason you would do this," the judge said.

• Also Friday, Madenspacher ordered a Manheim man to 6 months of house arrest and 5 years on probation for a collection of child pornography.

Joseph Todd Rohrer, 42, was caught last year with 273 images of children in lewd acts, it was said in court.

Attorney Steven Breit said Rohrer never would have been caught had he not brought a zip drive containing the images to a local library.

Rohrer was at the library to download an application and handed the drive to a library employee, who discovered the illegal materials.

"If he was trying to hide this, why would he give (the drive) to a third party?" Breit said in court.

"Stupidity is not a defense," Madenspacher interjected.

Rohrer said he was ashamed of what he'd done, even though his wife has stayed with him and was in court Friday morning.

"I walk down the street with my head down because I know what I did," Rohrer told the judge. "I worry about what people think of me. I know I've done wrong."

Madenspacher spared Rohrer prison, but ordered he continue attending counseling and undergo therapeutic polygraph tests.

"I've seen people that had far more files than this and got probation," the judge said while ordering the house-arrest and probation terms. "I can't reward or punish you for your stupidity."

Rohrer also must register his whereabouts with police for life.