FORMER NAVAL ACADEMY MIDSHIPMAN PLEADS
NOT GUILTY TO CHARGES HE "SEXUALLY
EXPLOITED" CHILDREN - BRET MICHAEL BUTLER
ALSO HIT WITH DUI RAP IN BOULDER, COLORADO

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BRET MICHAEL BUTLERWhat happened?

Just two years ago, former U.S. Naval Academy Midshipman Bret Michael Butler had the world by the tail. He was well on his way to graduation from USNA at Annapolis.

But then he was kicked out in December 2012. We haven't been able to find out just what kind of trouble Butler got himself into, but whatever it was, it was enough to cause him to be "separated" from the institution, according to a Navy spokesperson.

SOUGHT NAKED PIX OF TEEN GIRLS

Apparently Butler's life and future went into a downward spiral, because according to court papers in Colorado, the 22 year-old was arrested the following year for alleged attempted sexual exploitation of children.

In other words, investigators claimed Butler used his computers, including a Dell laptop he said was issued him by USNA, to access nude photos of underage girls.

Here's the weird twist in all this. Butler, detectives say, portrayed himself online as a "girl" urging other "teen" girls to send him their naked pix.

HIT WITH DUI CHARGES

By that time, he was living in an apartment in toney Boulder, Colo.

Butler was nabbed when local cops received a tip on him from the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children.

The would-be Naval officer, out on $50,000 bail in the sexual exploitation case, made more trouble for himself earlier this month when Boulder cops arrested him for DUI.

He's scheduled to appear in court on those charges Feb. 10.