47-year-old Travis M. Butler was arrested in November 2019 after the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children forwarded a tip to the Pensacola Police Department about "illicit communications" between Butler and a minor over Facebook Messenger.
According to the release issued by the Department of Justice as a part of Project Safe Childhood, he spent the summer not only corresponding with the child, but also meeting and raping her unbeknownst to her family.
Beginning in September 2019, investigators began looking into Butler's activity. Once they were able to geo-locate him to Pensacola, they obtained a search warrant for his social media accounts which "produced troves of evidence displaying his sexual acts with the minor and his request for her to produce child pornography for his pleasure."
As a result of the evidence obtained, Butler was charged with enticing a minor for sexual activity and producing child pornography. Two days before his federal trial was scheduled to begin, Butler pleaded guilty to the charges against him during a pre-trial conference.
“Butler is a sexual predator who has repeatedly victimized underage girls for his own purposes,” said U.S. Attorney Keefe in the press release. “He has inflicted harm on far too many girls, but his trail of devastated young lives will come to an end behind bars.”
“The horrible crimes against this child cannot be undone, but we hope this sentencing is another step in the healing process for his victim,” said Homeland Security Investigations Jacksonville Assistant Special Agent in Charge K. Jim Phillips. “We are proud to be one of the law enforcement partners making our local communities safer through the North Florida Internet Crimes Against Children Task Force.”
Butler had been previously convicted in 2006 for lewd and lascivious battery and contributing to the delinquency of a child by impregnating (under 16). It was only revealed at the sentencing that Butler had raped two other minor females in addition to the victim that resulted in the charges, and had impregnated them both.
On January 15, United States Attorney for the Northern District of Florida announced that Butler was sentenced to life imprisonment.