Indiana Cop Arrested for Sexually Abusing Student in School Classroom, His Truck and at Her Home While Her Mother was Away

Rico Butler
Rico Butler (left) and Butler speaking to a group of children at Wilson Elementary School in South Bend in May of 2023. Facebook

A South Bend Police officer has been arrested and charged with child seduction of a student at the school he worked for part-time in Mishawaka made his initial court appearance on Monday.

Rico Butler was charged on March 2 with two counts of child seduction. Indiana law defines child seduction as when a person who is in a position of trust — such as a teacher, coach, pastor or law enforcement officer — has sexual relations with a child at least four years younger who was entrusted to their care, as reported by the South Bend Tribune.

That law enables prosecutors to charge people criminally for sexual abuse of children who are 16 or 17, older than Indiana's age of consent but not yet adults and are entrusted to that person.

Butler Allegedly Bought Victim 'Plan B' Birth Control After Sexual Encounter

According to court documents, 27-year-old Butler met the 17-year-old victim while working security and as a boys' basketball coach at a Mishawaka high school.

While the relationship started in September last year, documents show the department of child services became aware of the case in February when they received an anonymous report of sexual abuse.

The documents say Butler and the victim would talk regularly through Snapchat before the relationship got more intimate. The two had sexual intercourse on multiple occasions including in a school classroom, in Butler's personal truck and at the victim's home when her mother was away.

Butler also bought the girl "Plan B" birth control after a sexual encounter that took place in the school classroom, documents say.

Butler Placed on Leave Pending Investigation

South Bend Police Chief Scott Ruskowski released a statement. "I am distraught and disappointed by the allegations that ultimately led to the arrest and charging of Rico Butler," Ruskowsi said.

"As police officers, we hold ourselves to higher standards. Any alleged negative behavior by an individual who wears our badge is a detriment to the efforts of our 250+ officers who strive each day to build and maintain trust and make a positive impact within our community," he added.

Butler, a sworn officer since 2022, has been placed on paid leave pending further criminal and internal investigations. His bond was set at $3,000 cash to be paid by April 29, under several stipulations including attending meetings as directed and not leaving the jurisdiction.

Additionally, Butler was issued a no contact order. He must not contact the victim in person, by phone, by letter or through an intermediary. He also must not visit a location she could possibly visit. His next court date is scheduled for April 15 at 8:30 a.m. with Judge Stephanie E. Steele in the St. Joseph County Superior Court.