SPRINGFIELD, Ga. — A Gardendale man, charged with sending sexually explicit photos of himself via the Internet, has turned himself in.
Mark Butler, 28, is accused of exposing himself on a webcam to an underecover deputy posing as a 13-year-old girl. According to Det. David Ehsanipoor, the public information officer for the Effingham County, Georgia Sheriff's Office, Butler surrenedered to them Thursday afternoon after finding out about the warrant through news reports overnight.
Butler was snared in an undecover operation by the Georgia Internet Crimes Against Children (ICAC) Task Force, which is comprised of multiple law-enforcement and investigative agencies in that state which try to catch sexual predators in cyberspace. Effingham County has two officers which work with that task force, Ehsanipoor said.
The incidents took place over the past couple of weeks, Ehsanipoor said. The chat-room conversation turned sexual in nature, before the explicit images were sent.
Deputies were able to get a photo of Butler's face, but had no idea who he was or where he was from. The department sent out a press release with his photo, which ended up on the websites of numerous news agencies in the Southeast. An identity and location were determined shortly thereafter from the public.
Butler's wife, Megan, is the head volleyball coach at Mortimer Jordan High School; she also coached girls basketball for the Blue Devils for the last two seasons. According to the Ehsanipoor, Megan Butler is cooperating with investigators in Alabama. Overnight reports from the department erroneously stated that she had fled along with her husband; Megan Butler called authorities to cooperate after seeing this reports herself, Ehsanipoor said.
Mark Butler does not have any official capacity with Mortimer Jordan, according to principal Barbara Snider.
Ehsanipoor added that federal charges may come into play, since the incident took place in separate states and would therefore qualify as interstate crime.
This story continues to develop; we'll have updates throughout the day.