In the two years before Samuel H. Butler allegedly raped a Dixie State University student, police agencies across Utah investigated six prior allegations that he had sexually assaulted someone, according to recently released reports.

Three cases involved adult women he met via online dating apps, who each reported to police that he had assaulted them on first dates. And, in 2015, Butler allegedly told an officer he had inappropriately touched three young girls years earlier — a statement that led police to look into his past.

None of the investigations resulted in charges being filed against Butler, now 22, and he was never arrested. It appears that only in the most recent case, at Dixie State, did detectives connect the allegations, after several weeks of investigation. He was arrested and charged in April with raping a student in January.

Butler could not be reached for comment, and his defense attorney, Douglas Terry, did not respond to a request for comment. Butler is free on $20,000 bond. His next court hearing is scheduled for June 12.

A call for help • On a June day in 2015, Butler called 911 and said he was walking along Interstate 15 in Utah County and was suicidal, according to a recently released Utah Highway Patrol report. A trooper wrote that when he spoke with Butler, then 20, the young man said he was distraught because he had sexually assaulted three girls eight years earlier, in towns in Salt Lake, Utah and Millard counties.

The trooper passed the information on to the three police agencies, he wrote in the report, and Butler was released to a family member.

A month later, Butler sat in an Orem Police Department interview room and told a Millard County investigator that he, as a boy, had touched one of the girls, who was 4 or 5 years old, because children at that age are "forgetful and wouldn't remember it," according to a Millard County report released Thursday. Butler told the investigator that his parents, religious leader and counselors knew about the incident — and that they chalked it up to Butler being a "kid discovering the world" who was curious about the female body.

The Millard County investigator later contacted the family of one alleged victim, according to the report. But the girl didn't remember anything, her parents told police, and they did not want to take action against Butler.

The alleged victim's mother said she "just wanted to make sure that Sam got the help that he is looking for," the investigator wrote in his report.

Unified Police conducted a similar investigation in Herriman, according to a report released Thursday. That alleged victim was interviewed but did not disclose any inappropriate touching, it said. The Unified Police investigator did not interview Butler, writing that she would let Orem police interview him about the possible case there, noting he had already been investigated by that department for a sexual assault involving a woman in 2014.

But it does not appear Orem police followed up on the contact that the trooper had described in his report. Orem Lt. Craig Martinez said Thursday there were no records showing that information from UHP was forwarded to his department.

Four women, similar allegations • Reports previously obtained by The Salt Lake Tribune showed three women who contacted police about Butler described a pattern: He chatted online with the Dixie State student and women in Logan and Orem before meeting each in person, in 2017, 2015 and 2014. The women said they met Butler believing the dates would be in public places but instead were taken or went somewhere secluded or private.

A Utah County Sheriff's Office report released last week in response to a public records request shows a woman gave a similar account in 2016.

The woman said she met Butler on the app Plenty of Fish in February 2016, chatted for a while, and decided to meet him at a train station in Orem. She said he asked if they could go on a drive up Provo Canyon.

The woman told a deputy she began feeling uncomfortable as Butler touched her as they drove, and Butler eventually pulled over.

Butler soon began to kiss her aggressively — as the other women had indicated in their reports — before he pinned her against a door and groped her, she said. The woman said she worried Butler might rape her, and she began to shake and cry. He eventually agreed to take her home, she said.

Butler "knew [she] did not want to do anything romantic," the deputy wrote in a report, "and yet, he still pushed himself onto her."

The woman said she was concerned about Butler's past and future interactions with other women.

When Butler was interviewed by the deputy, he said that he stopped his advances once the woman objected. He said he stopped kissing her several times and asked her if she was OK with what was happening, according to the report.

Butler explained that he had crossed "boundaries" with a woman a few years earlier, and he "felt bad for making her uncomfortable," so he had sought counseling to learn how to treat women he dated, according to the report.

The case was closed with no charges filed because the woman stopped communicating with officers, the report said.

"In any sexual assault case, if we don't have access to an interview, or an ability for the victim to testify, then we can't pursue charges," Utah County Attorney Jeff Buhman said.

The Logan woman's case was closed after she said she no longer wanted to cooperate, a report said. There is no indication officers alerted the Utah County and Logan women to other reports involving Butler.

Utah County prosecutors had declined to file charges related to the report from the first woman, Madeline MacDonald, who contacted Orem police in 2014. MacDonald also had expressed concern about other women and later shared her experience publicly while urging Brigham Young University to grant amnesty for Honor Code violations to students who report sexual assaults.

The Tribune generally does not identify victims of sexual assault, but MacDonald has agreed to the use of her name.

Washington County officials will investigate the three recent allegations against Butler and may reinterview the women as they build their case, aiming to show Butler's alleged "mode of operation," Dixie State Police Chief Don Reid has said.

Speaking generally, Washington County Attorney Brock Belnap said Friday that when building a case, "there is nothing that would stop us from looking at prior juvenile behavior," as well, if it matched certain behaviors by a suspect. "We would potentially pursue that."

jmiller@sltrib.com

lramseth@sltrib.com