Bret Butler, schmuck, allegedly tried to get underage girls to sext by pretending to be one

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Bret Butler, 22, shouldn't count on appearing in either recruiting posters or college brochures. The ex-midshipman was originally thought to have been AWOL from the U.S. Naval Academy, but that turned out not to be true. He reportedly hasn't been enrolled there since December, and while he took some classes at CU-Boulder, he's not a student there, either.

Bet both institutions are relieved, given his current claim to schmuckiness -- allegedly tricking underage girls into sexting by pretending to be one himself.

According to the Boulder Daily Camera, which has done the heavy lifting on the story, the Boulder Police Department received a tip about Butler from the National Center for Missing & Exploited Children.

The folks there believed he was in possession of child pornography -- specifically explicit photos sent to him by young girls.

His strategy? According to an arrest affidavit cited by the Camera, investigators believe he would contact those he targeted with messages such as, "Hey (: I'm 13f. Want to sext?"

Then, to keep up the subterfuge, he'd send out a photo of a naked girl that presumably was supposed to be him and hope the person on the other end of the communication would reciprocate.

Apparently, some of them did. Authorities say they found more than twenty explicit images on Butler's cell phone or computer, with evidence that after he received such pics, he'd share them online.

Butler was arrested at his Boulder County home last week and has now been formally charged with two sexual-exploitation-of-a-child-with-intent-to-sell-or-publish counts, plus another pair of charges related to possessing those twenty-plus pics.

Which makes him anything but ship-shape. Here's Butler's booking photo.

More from our Schmuck of the Week archive: "Rojorlo Naranjo takes schmucky revenge on cock-blocking bus driver."

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