A veteran detective for the Baltimore Police Department is due in court after being indicted on charges of theft and forgery of a transcript for allegedly using a fake diploma.
Staccato Butler worked for BPD for more than three decades, most recently in the cyber and electronic crimes unit, according to the Sun’s Justin George. Police confirmed via email that he is no longer working for the department. Court records show he was indicted on charges earlier this week of theft of between $10,000 and using a forged or counterfeited transcript. A spokesperson for the State’s Attorney’s Office said in an email that the latter charge is specifically for “unlawfully presenting as genuine a false diploma.”
Butler has also been teaching in the University of Baltimore’s high technology crime program, where he was listed as the director of the forensics laboratory. The Sun reports that Butler said he was teaching there as recently as Monday, though as of this morning, the university does not have him listed on their faculty page for the program. The position of director for the forensics lab reads simply, “vacant.”
A University of Baltimore spokesman said they are checking on Butler’s employment status with the school.
Butler has appeared in promotional videos for police, such as this one from Black History Month in 2015. For what it’s worth, the former detective told the Sun he wasn’t informed the state had filed charges against him. His court date is set for Jan. 20, 2017.
The nature of the charges against Butler stemming from his alleged use of a fake degree remain unclear, but stories of academics or public officials building careers with falsified qualifications pop up every so often. The problem appears to be much more common overseas in countries like India, and has gone in a more nuanced direction in Europe. For those who sell fake degrees, the business can be both lucrative and time-consuming, The New York Times reported from an investigation last year.
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