‘He put me through 7 years of hell’: Former JSO officer sentenced for attempted child sex crimes

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. — A former Jacksonville Sheriff’s Officer will spend the next 20 years behind bars and another 20 on probation after pleading guilty to attempted child sex crimes in court Wednesday.

Matthew Butler, 42, will be labeled a sex offender for the rest of his life.

Butler was arrested in 2019 for two charges of capital sex battery. He was with JSO for nine years before his arrest and was also a softball coach.

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On Wednesday, Butler pleaded guilty to two counts of attempted capital sexual battery.

It was an emotional hearing at the Duval County Courthouse as each of Butler’s victims took to the stand and testified against him.

His wife also took the stand saying she will never forgive him.

A victim spoke to Action News Jax. We are not identifying her because she is under 18.

“It really took my childhood away from me, I wasn’t thinking like a child anymore,” the victim said. “He’s put me through seven years of hell.”

She encourages other people who’ve been abused to speak up.

“I felt like it was time, and I realized as I got older, by the time I was 12 years old, I was like, there are so many other females this could be happening to,” she added.

Butler’s sentencing was part of a negotiated deal. His attorney, Mitch Stone, said he made the deal because he did not want one of his victims to have to testify in court.

He was originally arrested for child rape but had his charge lessened to attempted sex battery as part of that plea deal.

Stone says Butler maintains he is innocent, despite evidence in the case.

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“There was enough substantial evidence that he felt it was in his best interest to take the guilty plea,” Stone said.

Butler has 30 days to appeal his sentencing, but Stone says that will not happen.

Bailey Husker

Bailey Husker, Action News Jax

Bailey Husker is a digital content producer and assignment editor for Action News Jax.