Original booking photo of Jaquan Butler from 2014. He is now in the Air Force and is clean shaven and has short hair.

Leonardtown, MD — A member of the United States Air Force and former Mechanicsville resident has been given a suspended sentence and unsupervised probation after pleading guilty to second-degree assault. Jaquan Butler, 19, was sentenced Nov. 2 in St. Mary’s County Circuit Court by Judge Michael Stamm.

Butler was originally charged with fourth-degree sex offense for having sex with a 14 year old girl when he was 18. According to Butler’s attorney, Ralph Warren Sr. of Largo, his client believed the girl was 16 years old and that she was bigger than he was and looked older. He said the girl invited Butler to her house. “He made a reasonable mistake,” Warren said.

Warren called Butler a model citizen with no record at all. He said he wished to make a career of the Air Force. Instead the charges will now be reviewed by the service for a determination of whether he will be retained or kicked out.

Because of the pending Air Force review, Warren asked Judge Stamm to consider probation before judgement. The judge, however, said he was unwilling to do that at this time because of an unresolved restitution to the family of the victim. Assistant State’s Attorney Joseph Stanalonis said the family of the victim did not choose to have her testify at the sentencing hearing. He said they wanted closure to the matter,

Restitution being sought is $9,000 to cover part of the costs for therapy and treatment for the girl. When asked by the judge whether the sentence or restitution was the most important thing to the family, Stanalonis said, “I believe restitution would be beneficial to the family.”

The judge said that the reason for the crime for which Butler was originally charged is that 14 year-olds “don’t understand what they are doing.”

Sentencing guidelines for the second-degree assault offense are probation to six months in jail. But the judge noted if the defendant was jailed he would not be able to make restitution. Instead there is an agreement that he will make regular payments out of his Air Force pay until the total amount of resolved.

The judge imposed sentence of six months suspended to one day (which Butler has already served). He placed Butler on two years’ of unsupervised probation. The judge said he would be willing to revisit the probation before judgement request after restitution is made. In the meantime he said he hoped the unsupervised probation would be sufficient for the Air Force to decide to retain Butler in their service.

Contact Dick Myers at dick.myers@thebaynet.com