Dr. Thomas C. Butler is one of the rather few people in the history of humanity of whom it can be truly said that he helped to save millions of lives. A specialist in the plague and other infectious diseases, his research helped lead to the adoption of oral hydration as a standard treatment for diarrhea in the Third World and elsewhere.
But in post-9/11 America, Dr. Butler is also a convicted criminal.
Because he apparently committed certain violations of the laws governing the transport of toxic materials used in his medical research, he was investigated and prosecuted as if he were a potential terrorist. In 2004, he was sentenced to a term of two years in prison, which he recently completed.
The strange tale of Dr. Butler is explored this week in an exhaustive seven-part series in the Cleveland Plain Dealer beginning March 26.
See “Plagued by Fear” reported by John Mangels.
Some related material in support of Dr. Butler is available from the Federation of American Scientists.