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Scouting official
who defended gay ban charged with possessing child porn

Scouting official
who defended gay ban charged with possessing child porn

Former program director for the Boy Scouts of America Douglas Smith Jr., who defended the organization's ban on gay scouts, has been charged with felony possession and distribution of child pornography.

A former Boy Scouts of America program director who defended the organization's ban on gays has been charged with felony possession and distribution of child pornography and was expected to appear in federal court Wednesday, according to court records. Many expected him to plead guilty. Douglas Sovereign Smith Jr. is accused of receiving images over the Internet in February that contained children "engaging in sexually explicit conduct," including oral sex and intercourse. The charges were filed March 21 in the Fort Worth division of the northern district of Texas. "We're shocked and dismayed to learn of this," said Gregg Shields, national spokesman for the Irving, Texas-based Boy Scouts. "Smith was employed by the Boy Scouts for 39 years and we had no indication of prior criminal activity." Law enforcement officials indicated the pictures did not show boys who were with the Boy Scouts organization, Shields said. Smith was not in a leadership position that involved working with children, Shields said. Smith was put on administrative leave immediately after Boy Scouts officials learned of the charges, and then Smith chose to retire, he said. "This is the first time ever we recall anything like this being charged against a Boy Scouts employee," Shields said. "We're proud of our dedicated and hardworking people but never heard of anything like this." Smith recently provided a rebuttal to a protest letter against the Scouts' antigay policy by Bruce D. Collins, who is a corporate vice president of the cable news channel C-SPAN and an Eagle Scout. Wrote Smith: "Some intolerant elements in our society...want scouting to forego its constitutional rights, affirmed in 2000 by the Supreme Court in BSA v. Dale, and adopt fundamentally different values from the ones that helped shape the character of Mr. Collins and 106 million other young men over the past 94 years.... The [legal affairs Web] site does seek to defend our values and to inform the public about the three-decade-long legal assault on scouting."

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