Sex offender banned from rec centers after FOX 2 tip | #childpredator | #kidsaftey | #childsaftey

ST. LOUIS – A regular rec center visitor is now banned from all facilities in St. Louis after FOX 2 raised the alarm about another sex crime arrest.

Samuel L. Butler, 71, was arrested Monday for sex crimes in Benton Park. St. Louis police had been looking for him for months because of what a citizen reported at the pickleball courts.

Once officers caught up with their suspect, they reported Butler had 17 prior convictions, two of which involved sex crimes and minors from more than a decade ago.

The police probable cause statement continues, stating the defendant “admitted he worked as an assistant coach at the Cherokee Rec Center.” It’s a center that’s just about a football field away from the pickleball courts.

The court record says Butler’s criminal convictions also restrict him from being within 500 feet of a park. The rec center and park sit side-by-side.

The mayor’s office, however, said they checked into the suspect’s claims and reported Butler was never employed at the rec center. It’s unclear why he reportedly told police he was a coach.

The center did acknowledge Butler had been a regular visitor, but not anymore. The city added that FOX 2’s inquiry has led to action and that Butler is now banned from all St. Louis rec centers.

Park visitor John Steffen said he’s impressed with that decision.

“I applaud,” he said. “It’s an unfortunate situation and not anything anyone wants to go through, but they made the right decision.”

Park visitor Maicoll Gomez agrees.

“This should be a safe zone for children,” he said. “They should not be worried about a pedophile or a sex offender anywhere around the vicinity.”

According to court records, the St. Louis Circuit Attorney’s Office also warned that Samuel L. Butler has at least four aliases, including Samuel Balcep, Robert Tucker, Michael Simpson, and Odellie Surf.

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