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Boy Scouts leader charged in child porn case — Queer Lesbian Gay News — Gay.com

Posted by pozlife on June 2, 2007

 

Eric Johnston, PlanetOut Network

published Tuesday, March 29, 2005

The Boy Scouts of America (BSA), known for banning gay youth and adults, is reeling from news that one of its top leaders is facing Internet child pornography charges.

Douglas S. Smith Jr., 61, is expected to plead guilty on Wednesday to a single count of receiving and distributing child pornography, according to Kathy Colvin, a spokeswoman for the U.S. Attorney’s Office in Ft. Worth, Texas.

If convicted, Smith could get a prison term of five to 20 years, NBC News reported. The report also cited sources who said the investigation of the charge began in Germany and involved images of young boys.

Smith, who lives near BSA headquarters in the suburban Dallas-Ft. Worth area, had been with the youth organization for 39 years and held the post of national director of programs.

“We are dismayed and shocked to learn of the charge,” said BSA spokesman Gregg Shields in a prepared statement.

Shields said the organization placed Smith under administrative leave shortly after learning he was under criminal investigation, and Smith stepped down soon afterward, in February.

The BSA has stirred controversy and legal battles over its anti-gay membership policy. In 1990, the BSA expelled James Dale, an openly gay Eagle Scout. The New Jersey Supreme Court ruled the BSA’s ouster of Dale violated the state’s anti-discrimination law, but in 2000 the U.S. Supreme Court overturned that ruling by a 5-4 vote.

Scott Cozza, president of Scouting for All, which opposes the BSA’s anti-gay stance, said Smith’s arrest is evidence that the group’s national leadership “needs to be replaced.”

“They’re blinded by their self-righteousness,” Cozza told the PlanetOut Network. “They always use the Scout Oath to criticize gays and atheists, to say gays are not ‘morally straight.’ Here one of their highest officials is [allegedly] dealing with pornography and children.”

Smith defended the BSA’s anti-gay ideology last September in a letter to the editor of the Corporate Legal Times. “Some intolerant elements in our society want to force scouting to abandon its values and to become fundamentally different,” he wrote.

Smith would not comment about the charges against him when news organizations contacted him by phone at his home.

Smith’s lawyer, Jack Strickland, told the Associated Press said that his client is “not taking this well.”

“I’ve got to tell you, this is a good man, and I would hate to see the entirety of his life and the good things he’s done defined by one incident,” said Strickland.

 

Source: Boy Scouts leader charged in child porn case — Queer Lesbian Gay News — Gay.com

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