BEIJING, March. 30 (Xinhuanet) -- The longtime program director of the Boy
Scouts of America (BSA) and chairman of its Youth Protection Task Force has
been charged with possession and distribution of child pornography, the United
States attorney's office in Fort Worth said Tuesday.
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.
"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
Mr. Smith also responded on behalf of the Boy Scouts in September 2004 when
a lawyer and onetime Eagle Scout, Bruce D. Collins, wrote a letter taking issue
with the Boy Scouts' dismissal of an assistant scoutmaster, James Dale, because
he was gay. The case reached the Supreme Court and established the Boy Scouts'
right to bar gays under the organization's own First Amendment right of
The BSA has stirred controversy and legal battles over its anti-gay
membership policy. In 1990, the BSA expelled James Dale, an openly gay Eagle
Scout. The New Jersey Supreme Court ruled the BSA's ouster of Dale violated the
state's anti-discrimination law, but in 2000 the U.S. Supreme Court overturned
that ruling by a 5-4 vote.
Last year, Mr. Smith was honored by the Boy Scouts with a Distinguished
Service Award. His nomination read in part, "His visionary support to the
National OA Committee has allowed our Order to move to new levels."
Smith, reached Tuesday at his home in Colleyville, near Fort Worth,
referred all questions to his attorney, Jack Strickland.
"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,"
Smith would not comment about the charges against him when news
organizations contacted him by phone at his home.
He was expected to appear in federal court Wednesday.