Crime Library: Criminal Minds and Methods

Family That Stripped Naked in Front of School Gets Probation

Butler in the buff.

Butler in the buff.

Sara Butler, 44, of Germantown, Pa., became a smart phone sensation on March 16, 2012, when she parked the car containing her mother, two adult daughters, Joanne, 23, and Bessie, 22, and an unnamed minor son, 14, in front of Upper Darby High School and tried to get her biological son dismissed from class. The school denied her access to the young man, saying that they did not have her name on record. She reportedly tried this several times, and then decided that the only thing to do, apparently, was to get the whole family out of the car, chant “Jesus is Lord” and pray for her son — completely naked in front of the school full of children. The performance didn’t last long, about ten minutes. Security finally caught them, wrestled them to the ground and held them for police, but not before a few students recorded the whole episode on their smart phones. They are charged with indecent exposure and disorderly conduct. Butler and her daughter Bessie were taken to a psych ward for observation.

The Butlers are subdued by school security, Sara Butler (inset)

The Butlers are subdued by school security, Sara Butler (inset)

Butler and her daughters were in court on October 1 to face the charges against them. In Butler’s defense, her attorney, Sharmil McKee, apologized for her client, and told a judge that the bizarre display was caused by problems with the medications Butler takes for lupus conflicting and causing a psychotic episode in which, “Miss Butler thought that basically the world was coming to an end, so she — caring for her family — decided to bring all of her children together.” McKee also told the judge the reason for their nudity, “In order to please the Lord, Miss Butler felt that she needed to exit the world in the same manner that Adam and Eve entered the world, and to do so she needed to be naked.”

According the McKee, the daughters followed their mother’s example, rather than to seek medical assistance for her, because they had no reason to doubt her, adding, “This is the type of behavior we want to encourage. We want our children to do what parents say.” Judge Gregory Mallon had a different take on the situation and addressed the daughters saying, “You can’t always follow when your mother’s having a breakdown like that. I would hope you could recognize your mother’s having a breakdown and I would have thought that maybe you would intercede and have her calm down a little bit rather than follow her lead.” All three pleaded guilty, and were each given a year of probation— and told to stay away from the school.

Slidwshow: Busted in the Buff

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