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A former high-ranking Boy Scouts of America official has been charged with possession and distribution of child pornography. Douglas Sovereign Smith Jr., 61, who as program director coordinated scouting programs with schools and churches, 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, 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.” 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, Texas, 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.” Copyright 2005 Associated Press. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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