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Ex-Scouting Official Admits Porn Charge

From Associated Press

A former high-ranking official of the Boy Scouts of America who ran a task force that worked to protect children from sexual abuse pleaded guilty Wednesday to a child pornography charge.

Douglas Sovereign Smith Jr., 61, faces five to 20 years in prison.

Authorities found 520 images of child pornography on Smith’s home computer, federal prosecutor Bret Helmer said. The images included children engaging in sex acts.

Smith entered his plea to a federal charge of possession and distribution of child pornography without making a deal with prosecutors. During a hearing, he answered the judge’s questions with “yes, sir” or “no, sir” but did not speak otherwise.

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“He is contrite,” said Jack Strickland, Smith’s attorney. “He has accepted responsibility.”

Smith will remain free until sentencing July 12.

Smith worked for the Boy Scouts for 39 years and led the Youth Protection Task Force that aimed to shield youths from sexual abuse. He did not work directly with children, and no child porn images were found on his work computer.

Law enforcement officials indicated the pictures did not show boys who were with the Boy Scouts organization, said a national spokesman for the Boy Scouts, based in Irving, Texas.

Smith received the images and e-mailed them to people he didn’t know, Helmer said.

“Child porn collectors collect, and they’re pretty prolific in their collections,” Helmer said. “But also they want to share what they have in hopes that they’ll get more new images that they’ve never seen.”

Smith’s charge was a result of a child-pornography investigation launched last year by U.S. and German authorities. When the Boy Scouts learned of his involvement, Smith was placed on leave, and then chose to retire.


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