Local News

Cherry Hospital worker accused of sexual offense

Posted December 3, 2008
Updated December 4, 2008

— A former Cherry Hospital employee is charged with a felony sexual offense after being accused of having sex with a patient, Department of Health and Human Services spokesman Tom Lawrence said.

Perry J. Butler, 36, of 204 S. Church St. in Mt. Olive, was a health care technician at the institution when the incident occurred on Nov. 4, documents show.

Investigators said they believe Perry engaged in sexual acts with the victim while the victim was in the custody of the institution, according to information contained in a search warrant.

Cherry Hospital Police arrested Butler on Dec. 1, and he was released after posting bond

He is expected in court on Dec. 16.

Butler was also one of the employees at the hospital suspended for neglecting Steven Howard Sabock, a patient at the hospital who died after being left sitting in the same room for nearly 24 hours before he died.

Last week, two ex-Cherry Hospital workers were convicted of assaulting a patient at the mental facility. Taniko Dominique Upton, 33, and William Kenneth Johnson, 52, were both convicted of misdemeanor simple assault on a handicapped person.


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  • dogeatdog Dec 4, 2008

    If you look in today's goldsboro news-argus you'll see this guy has been in trouble with the law MANY times over. It's amazing someone like that can work at a mental health facility. "According to court records, Butler has previously been convicted of shoplifting, larceny, trespassing, and writing bad checks." Seems like some heads need to roll at Cherry!

  • familyfour Dec 4, 2008

    It isn't the first time this has happened there.

  • manofjustice Dec 4, 2008

    Doesn't matter if the patient was mentally ill or not...we are talking about a PATIENT period. How desperate can you be? Even to think about having sex at work!!! I think he was abused as a child by his mother and father and he is acting out. He was probably raped by an older mentally unstable cousin or brother. Something is wrong with this man.

  • kandy Dec 4, 2008

    This is so sick. Patients with mental illness have such a difficult road and to be placed in a setting where they are sexually abused (consentual or not it is abuse)only adds to thier problems. Imagine the liability the state faces. This staff member was already suspended for neglect... and now this... Who was monitoring the care he provided after his suspension??? They should have known better!

  • leaannbo19952 Dec 4, 2008

    They do background checks there. I bounced 3 checks when I was 18 and I cant get a job there. Been certified for almost 14 yrs

  • LaLa-Land Dec 4, 2008

    40 years ago when I was a kid, we would joke to one another that "you'll be sent to Cherry Hospital." In my mind, I could only imagine the horrors that went on there. How sad those horrors are all true.

  • leaannbo19952 Dec 4, 2008

    Im a CNA currently working in Goldsboro while I dont work at Cherry many of my coworkers have in the past and some currently do. Most of the Health Care Techs and Nurses that do work there are dedicated and hard working people. It is only a few bad apples that are ruining the bunch. Most of the residents are our forgotten population. No one wants them. Not their families nor do the communities. Please dont judge all Cherry workers by the actions of the few

  • Angel67 Dec 4, 2008

    It's not about closing it down, it's about hiring the right kind of people. Supervisors being just that. Not guard dogs but watch your employees. I've worked there. They need to raise the salaries to get quality people in those types of positions. They won't ever have quality people if the salary stays like it is. Clean house and hire the right kind of people. Criminal back ground checks, training and previous experience. A high school grad could do a better job than the people they have there now. They say you can't judge a book by its cover, not so. maybe they should be looking at the covers alittle more closely. We need that hospital, somebody needs to get control soon.....

  • ivegotone Dec 4, 2008

    This says he is accused. Cherry has probably 200-300 patients. If it is closed where will they go? The families that dump them there do not want them. Will anyone take them in? Its not that simple.

  • Boo Dec 4, 2008

    Castration is a good punishment for him.
    The State of NC should be ashamed - this place should have been closed years ago. How many people have to be abused there before changes are made?