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RememberSchiff

Firelands Scout Res. (Wakeman,OH), Aqua Joe, failed YP

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Thomas Close, 39, who is associated with Troop 406 in Richland County and is also known as “Aqua Joe,” admitted to filming boys changing between 2011 and this year. He also said he had downloaded child pornography since he was 16 years old, and that his sexual preference was for boys between the ages of six and 16, according to an affidavit written by U.S. Department of Homeland Security Investigations agent Benjamin Shaw.

....

In August (2018), (HSI) agents talked to officials at the Boy Scouts' Lake Erie Council in Cleveland. They showed a director cropped images from some of the videos, and the director said it appeared they were shot in teepees at the Firelands Scout Reservation in Wakeman, five miles west of Oberlin. Scouts sometimes change clothes in the teepees, the affidavit states.

The director said other videos look like they were shot in locker rooms at the Wakeman camp, investigators say.

Since all the photos appeared to pertain to changing before and after swimming, a director provided agents with a June 2017 report regarding an incident at the Wakeman camp that may be related. A den leader made a complaint about Close, the affidavit says, and the director told Close that he would be fired if it happened again.

Over a year later? Call the Police when incident occurs!!!

“This case was solved because of good investigative work but also because a parent who was trained to look for signs of suspicious activity raised their concerns to Scout leadership,” said U.S. Attorney Justin Herdman. “We all have an obligation to be aware of what is taking place around us and let authorities know when there are concerns.”

Anyone with knowledge of the man’s unsupervised contact with children should contact HSI at 216-749-9602.

https://www.cleveland.com/court-justice/2018/11/ohio-boy-scouts-of-america-employee-charged-with-secretly-filming-boys-changing.html

https://www.mansfieldnewsjournal.com/story/news/2018/11/01/boy-scout-official-arrested-child-porn-charges/1851611002/

 

Edited by RememberSchiff
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Even though it sounds a bit flippant, I rely on something from an old role playing game from long while back called Paranoia. In which the whole concept was that you were part of a team whose members all had secret assignments to betray various other teammates etc on the mission they were assigned to. The slogan was, "Trust no one. Keep your Laser handy." 

Commonly, we as a society want to trust those who have been around for awhile simply because we think, if they were "bad" they would have been caught long ago. We watch the new adults more closely until we're satisfied they are doing okay. We give those who have been around for a long time a reprieve from scrutiny. In reality, we have to be on constant vigilance and willing to stand and make a report when something doesn't look right. It can be fatiguing and it does feel like we should trust those around us, but the scouts entrusted to our care demand that we don't take it lightly. 

We wouldn't go off on an outing without checking off the gear (first aid/communications/water/supplies/etc) we know to bring nor watching the weather reports etc. Same with watching for YPT failures. Ever vigilant. Thanks to the scouter who became suspicious. And again, don't rely on the person one-level-up to follow through to national. It is our responsibility to make the report to national. Let them do the investigation. 

 

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It's good that a parent/den leader who was trained (likely YPT) raised the concern!    This is an example of YPT working, not perfectly, but it worked to prevent future boys from having their privacy compromised by this creep.  

Note, that camp director needs to be fired and perhaps we need to write to the council about that. 

Edited by WisconsinMomma
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On 11/2/2018 at 6:29 AM, RememberSchiff said:

June 2017 report regarding an incident at the Wakeman camp that may be related. A den leader made a complaint about Close, the affidavit says, and the director told Close that he would be fired if it happened again.

Question would obviously be: What did the council do with and/or about the complaint.  Was it investigated and could not be substantiated?  Was it properly handled?

That is (I hope) being worked on and investigated now.  There should be no "happened again" in these cases, most need to be treated as one strike and you're out or in jail (after due process)

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1 hour ago, Jameson76 said:

Question would obviously be: What did the council do with and/or about the complaint.  Was it investigated and could not be substantiated?  Was it properly handled?

That is (I hope) being worked on and investigated now.  There should be no "happened again" in these cases, most need to be treated as one strike and you're out or in jail (after due process)

That can come out when the camp director is prosecuted under Ohio 2151.421 Reporting child abuse or neglect parts a and b. 

http://codes.ohio.gov/orc/2151.421

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Full statement from Boy Scouts Lake Erie Council: 


Dear LEC Scouting Family,
Let me begin by apologizing for not being able to communicate sooner. It has always been my approach to be immediately responsive with the hope that you would hear both good and bad news directly from the council if possible. Unfortunately, a set of evolving circumstances prevented us from a mass distribution prior to yesterday evening.

By now, you are likely aware that yesterday a former adult member was arrested and charged in federal court with production of child pornography. We were disturbed to learn about and condemn these charges. Nothing is more important than the safety of our youth members and we take these charges very seriously. Upon learning of the investigation by Homeland Security, we removed this individual and prohibited him from any future participation in our programs.
In addition, you have likely seen mention of an incident that occurred in June of 2017. Let me assure you that this incident was both thoroughly reviewed at the time and the appropriate action was taken. While that incident was different in scope and kind to this case, in our determination and efforts to fulfill our commitment to protecting our youth and to fully cooperate with the authorities, we were able to provide information to Homeland Security that resulted in criminal charges.

The Boy Scouts of America seeks to prevent child abuse through comprehensive policies and procedures to serve as barriers to abuse. These include a thorough screening process for adult leaders and staff, criminal background checks, requiring two or more adult leaders be present with youth at all times during Scouting activities, and the prompt mandatory reporting of any allegation or suspicion of abuse.

Anyone with any information on potential abuse should contact authorities to ensure the safety of our youth, in and out of Scouting. For more information about the BSA’s youth protection policies, please visit bsayouthprotection.org.

We are committed to providing ongoing support to victims and their families, including counseling. We want to help victims heal, on their own terms, with a professional counselor of their choice. Through the ScoutsFirst Helpline, the Boy Scouts of America offers assistance with counseling to any youth member, former youth member, or the family of any youth member who suffered abuse during their time in Scouting. To reach the ScoutsFirst Helpline, call (844)- Scouts1 or 844-726-8871, or email scouts1st@scouting.org.

In addition, if you have specific questions about this case, please contact Homeland Security at 216-749-9602. As this matter is ongoing, they are the only ones who are able to provide answers to our questions. Know that we continue to cooperate with law enforcement as they investigate this matter.

Yours in service to youth and families, 
Marc J. Ryan 
Scout Executive / CEO 
Lake Erie Council, Boy Scouts of America

https://www.13abc.com/content/news/Child-porn-charges-for-Boy-Scouts-leader-prompt-question-abotu-2017-incident-499712311.html

 

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