A longtime Boy Scouts of America (search) official who directed a national task force to protect children from sexual abuse has been charged with possession and distribution of child pornography.
Douglas Sovereign Smith Jr. (search), 61, was accused of receiving images over the Internet in February of children engaging in oral sex, intercourse and other sexually explicit conduct. The charges were filed by federal prosecutors March 21.
"We're shocked and dismayed to learn of this," said Gregg Shields (search), national spokesman for the Boy Scouts, based in the Dallas suburb of Irving. "Smith was employed by the Boy Scouts for 39 years and we had no indication of prior criminal activity."
Smith was a national program director and staff adviser of the Boy Scout's renowned Youth Protection Task Force. Shields said Smith took over the task force a couple of years ago when another employee retired. Smith managed the distribution of literature, video tapes, a Web site and other resources that teach children and adults at schools, churches and Boy Scout troops how to detect and prevent child abuse.
Law enforcement officials indicated the pictures did not show boys who were with the Boy Scouts organization, Shields said.
Smith's job did not involve working directly with children, Shields said. Smith was put on leave immediately after the Boy Scouts officials learned of charges, then chose to retire, he said.
Smith, reached Tuesday at his home in Colleyville, near Fort Worth, referred all questions to his attorney, Jack Strickland, who said: "He's 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."
He was expected to appear in federal court Wednesday.
"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's indictment was the result of a joint investigation between German and U.S. authorities to look into child porn distributed over the Internet.
Dean Boyd, a spokesman for U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement, the investigative arm of the Homeland Security Department, declined to talk specifically about Smith's case, but said it is the kind that authorities take special care to investigate.