EAST PROVIDENCE, R.I. (WPRI) — A man accused of engaging in inappropriate behavior on a beach in Westport faced a judge in Rhode Island Monday.
Andrew Butler, 45, appeared in Providence District Court for a fugitive from justice hearing. According to Eyewitness News crews in court, Butler waived extradition and was taken back to Massachusetts.
Last week, Westport police asked the public to help identify a man accused of exposing himself on Gooseberry Island. Police say a girl saw the man engaged in the act and took a photo of him as he left the area.
Police said that after seeing Butler’s photo on Facebook, six other women came forward saying he had done the same thing in front of them at Gooseberry.
Detectives said they also received a call from a Kohl’s store in Dartmouth. Employees there said they are concerned Butler resembles someone who was following women around the store recently.
Butler is facing a charge of open and gross lewdness for the situation on the beach. Detectives said they could add six more counts because of the complaints from the other women.
Eyewitness News obtained a report from East Providence police about an incident that happened back in February. According to police, two customers at the Savers thrift store on Pawtucket Avenue complained about a man “who was attempting to expose himself to them.”
The store manager told police he saw the man “place his hands in both of his front pockets and motion as if he was fondling himself.”
Police identified the man from that report as Butler.
“Butler was surreptitiously attempting to observe female customers while his hands were tucked in the front of his pants,” according to the report.
Police said they couldn’t establish that Butler exposed himself but they barred him from the store.
Eyewitness News found troubles for Butler that reached back to 1992. A newspaper article from Alabama reported Butler, then a student at Auburn University – pleaded guilty to exposing himself to three young women. Police said the conviction dates match Butler’s record.
Police said Butler works as a supervisor in corporate billing at Lifespan and is now on administrative leave.
Lifespan confirmed to Eyewitness News that Butler is on leave. The company said he worked off site and had no contact with patients. Lifespan said it is cooperating with police during their investigation.
Butler was arrested at his home on North Broadway in East Providence on Monday. Eyewitness News crews were there as police carried out a computer. Detectives said they also seized a cell phone and are looking for evidence on both devices.
Katisa Ferreira said she lives next door to Butler.
“Pretty gross, I’m sorry. He’s always friendly with the kids. He just got a new puppy. When he sees us outside he’ll come and talk to the kids. Didn’t think anything of it,” she said. “Now when I see this – not going to happen again.”
Ferreira said her interactions with Butler were pretty uneventful. Eyewitness News has learned he is married with no children. We knocked on his door Monday but no one answered.
Anyone who feels they may have been a victim should contact police immediately.