AUBURN — A former corrections officer from Auburn, who was prepared to plead guilty to a charge he violated bail by having contact with his victim, changed his mind Tuesday morning and pleaded not guilty at his arraignment in Androscoggin County Superior Court.

Bret Butterfield, 23, of 56 East Waterman Road was expected to plead guilty to a charge that he violated the terms of his release by having contact with a female inmate he sexually assaulted at the Maine Correctional Center in Windham while he was a guard there last April. He has since claimed the couple are in a relationship.

According to Butterfield’s attorney, Neal Weinstein, his client’s actions at the Windham facility were illegal because he was a corrections officer and the victim was an inmate, but the sex was consensual.

Weinstein has also said he believes his client was manipulated by the victim and “he just used extremely bad judgment.”

Butterfield was hired to work at the correctional center in 2012 and resigned from that job in June last year.

Since then, he has been charged with gross sexual assault and violating conditions of his release in Cumberland County, and with violating conditions of his release in Androscoggin County.

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Butterfield was indicted by a Cumberland County grand jury on a single charge of gross sexual assault on Oct. 15, a Class B felony punishable by up to 10 years in prison. He was released from the York County Jail that day on $1,000 cash bail, with the condition that he not contact the victim.

The next day, just after 5 p.m. on Oct. 16, Butterfield was arrested in Lewiston on a charge of violating bail conditions, after police spotted him with the victim in a Lewiston store where he worked. As Butterfield was being escorted to the cruiser, police heard him ask the victim to hold his keys and wallet and he “told her that he loved her,” according to the arrest affidavit.

He was later released from the Androscoggin County Jail on $500 cash bail, with the condition that he have no contact with the victim.

Less than a month later, he was arrested at a Westbrook movie theater because he was with the woman he assaulted in violation of his Androscoggin County bail.

In January, Butterfield pleaded guilty to the sex assault charge and one charge of violating conditions of his release in Cumberland County Superior Court. Under the terms of his plea agreement, he was sentenced to three years in prison, with all but six months suspended. When he is released, he will be on probation for two years.

He must register with the state as a sex offender, although he is not yet listed on the registry. And, Butterfield voluntarily turned in his credentials from the Maine Criminal Justice Academy, barring him from serving in law enforcement again, according to Weinstein.

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He was scheduled to plead guilty to the remaining charge of violating conditions of his release in Androscoggin County on Tuesday, but Butterfield changed his mind because of a problem with the prior pleas entered in Cumberland County. Attorney Weinstein told the court his client preferred to enter a not guilty plea to the Androscoggin County charge until what he called a “technical problem” in Cumberland County could be sorted out.

Until that time, bail was set at $500 cash with the condition that Butterfield have no contact with the victim.

Butterfield had no criminal history before these charges.

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