Law: Choosing Castration: Choosing Castration

Choosing Castration

Steven Allen Butler, 28, a Houston shoeshine man, faced a grim future. Butler, already on probation for an indecency conviction involving a seven-year-old girl, confronted a possible life sentence for repeatedly raping a 13-year-old neighbor. Last week a Texas judge approved Butler's request to be surgically castrated rather than go to prison. The victim's family, who knows Butler, approved of castration to spare the girl from testifying at a trial.

Under the sentence, Butler would undergo the procedure and plead guilty to the charges. In return, he would receive 10 years of probation. The irreversible procedure Butler will undergo is the...