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The Journal Gazette

Monday, October 17, 2016 2:34 pm

Irish corner Butler pleads guilty to misdemeanor

Chris Goff | The Journal Gazette

Notre Dame cornerback Devin Butler, suspended indefinitely since being arrested in August, pleaded guilty to a misdemeanor charge of resisting law enforcement. As part of the plea agreement made public Monday, the felony charges filed against Butler (resisting law enforcement and battery against a public safety official) were dropped.

Butler is placed in a pretrial diversion program for a year, tasked with completing community service. Each charge Butler initially faced was classified as a Level 6 felony, which carries a sentence of up to two and a half years in jail, according to the state’s criminal code. The new charge of resisting law enforcement to which Butler pleaded guilty is a Class A misdemeanor.

Butler, who has played in 37 games in his three seasons with Notre Dame, would have been the team's No. 3 corner if he were on the active roster at the start of this season.

According to the police report from the Butler incident, which occurred shortly after midnight Aug. 20, officers Aaron Knepper and Luke Pickard were called to the Linebacker Lounge, a bar near Notre Dame Stadium, and saw two women in a scuffle by the curb outside the building.

In an affidavit, prosecutor Kenneth P. Cotter wrote Butler “became angry” and shoved one of the women, then got into a physical confrontation with the officers as they tried to keep Butler away from her.

Butler cursed at the officers and caused injuries to Knepper before Butler was subdued with a taser, the affidavit said.

On Monday, the prosecutor's office released a letter of apology from Butler addressed to Knepper.

"Although I was initially simply trying to separate other individuals involved in a fight, I understand how you and the other officers could have reasonably perceived me to have been the aggressor," the letter read in part. "I regret that this occurred and acknowledge that my arrest was due to my own actions and that the officers acted appropriately."