MARICOPA — A man arrested for luring a minor for sexual exploitation in Pinal County was once a Maricopa County Sheriff’s Office detective who worked in the sex crimes division before being fired, records show.

Christopher Butts was arrested by the Maricopa Police Department March 17 about 4 p.m. in the Cobblestone Farms area.

Police accuse Butts of luring a minor for sexual exploitation by offering and soliciting sexual conduct with a person he thought was a 13-year-old girl.

Police say he messaged the “girl” stating he was in Maricopa near her residence and “he brought with him her favorite drink. Christopher was found to be in the possession of the specific drink the girl had previously mentioned through the dating application on his cellphone.”

Police apprehended Butts without incident and he was booked into the Pinal County Adult Detention Center but has since been released on bond.

Butts was fired from his position with the MCSO for “making false statements during the course of an official investigation,” according to his dismissal letter dated May 21, 2014.

This wasn’t the first time he had been disciplined by supervisors. He received a written warning on March 27, 2014, as part of an Internal Affairs investigation.

He was accused of lying about the hours he worked on March 9, 2014. He told his supervisors he had worked that Sunday but “the log did not show a record of card access on Sunday, March 9, 2014,” according to his termination letter.

“On March 13, 2014, the Jail Crimes Administrative Assistant advised Sergeant Tennyson that you sent her an e-mail asking her to adjust your ADP to reflect and ‘out’ time of 6:00 p.m. For Sunday March 9, 2014,” the termination letter states.

Butts later admitted he had lied about this on his time card when being interrogated by investigators. Butts was placed on administrative leave with pay in March 2014.

According to his personnel file with the MCSO, he was disciplined with a 48-hour suspension without pay in August 2012, investigated for domestic violence against his wife on Oct. 3, 2011, in Pinal County and received a written reprimand in August 2010 for leaving his patrol area in Queen Creek to eat breakfast.

“On the morning of July 4, 2010, while on patrol in your beat area, you issued a warning to a female motorist after you had stopped her for a criminal speeding violation. During your lunch break, you ran into the same female and engaged in personal conversation with her. Later in the shift, you decided to leave your beat to make contact with the same female at her home. By your own admissions, you were out of your beat for approximately twenty minutes talking to her in her driveway. The female initiated a formal complaint alleging that you were at her home for approximately one hour and engaged her in an uncomfortable, private conversation,” the termination letter states.

The letter also accused Butts of leaving his beat four more times over the course of two days in attempts to contact the woman. He was accused of returning to her home numerous times, including three times in his personal vehicle.

“Your actions included parking on her street and waiting for her, driving the neighborhood looking for her, knocking on her door and ringing her doorbell looking for her and knocking on her door and ringing her doorbell while she was inside hiding from you. On one occasion you looked into her home through a window, which in her words, caused her to feel violated,” the termination reads.

The letter of termination was signed by Scott Freeman, MCSO chief of administration.

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Jim Headley is a reporter covering breaking news, crime and justice around Pinal County. He can be reached at jheadley@pinalcentral.com.

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