Freedom Writer - February 1995
'Prolife' activist arrestedon battering charges
By Tom Burghardt
Steven M. Butler, 32, a long-time activist with Operation Rescue of
California, was arrested in Livermore on December 8 and charged with
beating his wife during an argument over housecleaning.
Butler's wife, Cherie, told Livermore police her husband had kicked
her in the back of the head and then tossed a metal chair at her.
The chair missed and instead struck the couple's 18-month-old daughter,
according to court records. Police stated neither Cherie Butler nor
the child required medical treatment.
Butler was arraigned December 9 in Pleasanton Municipal Court. He
is charged with one count of inflicting corporal punishment on a spouse.
Judge Hugh Walker set bail at $25,000.
Cherie Butler told police her husband beat and kicked her at their
East Airway Boulevard home in Livermore, Thursday, December 8. She
said he became enraged because she hadn't "properly" cleaned the house.
When arrested, Butler ordered his wife and child from their home and
declared he was replacing the locks to the front gate and front door.
Court records also show that Cherie Butler told police her husband
threatened to kill her if she told anyone about this egregious incident
of domestic violence. Steven Butler denied the charges.
Butler, a prominent activist with Operation Rescue of California,
has been arrested on multiple occasions for violent clinic blockades
and invasions organized by the group.
He has blockaded clinics and targeted health-care providers at their
homes in Bakersfield, Livermore, Concord, Oakland, San Mateo, and
San Francisco. Butler, an organizer of "no place to hide" residential
pickets, regularly targets Bay Area abortion providers.
In December 1990, during a clinic blockade at Women's Choice Medical
Clinic in Oakland, Butler attempted to break the leg of clinic defender
"We had formed a defense line when OR's goon squad arrived," said
Weide. "My leg was wrapped around a fence post when Butler grabbed
me. He began to twist my leg and wouldn't let go. He kept shouting
at me, calling me a 'baby-killer and a 'bitch.' He was enraged, out
of control. It was obvious he intended to hurt me. He seemed to enjoy
Oakland police on the site did nothing. Only forceful intervention
by other clinic defenders prevented Butler from seriously injuring
Weide, an organizer with the Bay Area Coalition for Our Reproductive
Rights (BACORR), said, "This violent assault on Cherie Butler and
their child comes as no surprise. Steven Butler has a history of violence
against women and health-care workers. It's disgusting, part of a
pattern of intimidation and terror."
BACORR activist Sharon Fleming declared, "Steve Butler comes from
a long line of women-hating thugs who flock to groups like Operation
Rescue. I guess I shouldn't be surprised that he'd do something as
low as this. While Operation Rescue claims they want to save babies,
violence like this only proves they really want to control women's
"'Family values' my ass!" Fleming declared. "Ask Cherie Butler what
kind of 'family values' led a batterer to kick his partner and then
to throw a metal chair that hits an 18-month-old baby. He's scum!"
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