- The Washington Times - Thursday, March 31, 2005

FORT WORTH — A longtime leader of the Boy Scouts of America pleaded guilty to a federal charge of distributing child pornography on the Internet here yesterday.

Douglas Sovereign Smith Jr., 61, was said to be one who shared a “buddy list” of pornographic files, mostly involving sexual acts of boys under 12, according to federal officials. He faces up to 20 years in prison and a $250,000 fine when sentenced in July.

Smith worked for the organization for 39 years, Scout officials said. He was the national director of programs for the organization and once led a task force protecting youths from sex abuse.

“Child-pornography collectors want to share in the hopes of getting more images they’ve never seen,” Assistant U.S. Attorney Bret Helmer said.

The case began in November 2003, when German authorities seized a major trafficker of pornography, contacted U.S. federals agents and supplied the names of hundreds of American participants. Smith’s e-mail was one of those utilized, the German officials said.

Because he pleaded guilty, Smith will not face trial.

In February, U.S. officials issued a warrant compelling America Online to produce those images stored in Smith’s account. Then they seized his computer at the Scouts offices and a disk in his home office.

He had stored some 525 pornographic images, a local FBI agent said.

Smith had been on leave since late February when the organization learned he was under investigation. He resigned a few days later.

Jack Strickland, Smith’s attorney, said his client became involved “by accident.”

“This is a man who, for his entire life, has been a good man,” Mr. Strickland said. “He was a good family man. He was a good representative for the Boy Scouts. I would hate for his entire life to be judged by one stupid act.”

He said Smith originally refused to accept the pornographic images, but later, without thinking, accepted them.

“I think he does acknowledge that he has a problem,” Mr. Strickland added. “He’s got a problem in viewing, receiving and then passing on this material.”

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