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Boy Scout official charged for allegedly having terabytes of child porn, filming children changing

Posted: 5:59 PM, Nov 01, 2018
Updated: 2018-11-01 21:59:39Z

A 39-year-old Richland County Boy Scout official has been charged after he allegedly filmed children changing at various Boy Scout functions, according to the U.S. Attorney's Office.

Thomas Close, of Shelby, who is affiliated with Boy Scout troop 406, was charged in federal court with the sexual exploitation of children as well as receiving and distributing child pornography.

Close allegedly filmed underage boys changing at a YMCA facility in Sandusky, attorneys said.

Authorities said they reviewed several videos that appeared to have been filmed inside a Sandusky YMCA facility, inside Firelands Reservation and a residential bathroom.

Authorities said they met with Boy Scouts of America officials in Cleveland during their investigation. When authorities told the Boy Scout officials about an incident involving children and swimming, Boy Scout officials told them about a complaint filed by a den leader that involved Close earlier in the summer.

Authorities said they then searched Close's home and located a bathroom which matched one of the videos that prompted the investigation.

The U.S Attorney's Office said Close admitted to making videos between 2011 and 2018. Close also admitted to downloading child pornography. Investigators found five terabytes of child pornography on his computer.

“This individual is accused of violating his position of trust with the Boy Scouts and as a teacher to exploit and take advantage of young people under his supervision," said Steve Francis, special agent in charge of Homeland Security Investigations for Michigan and Ohio. "The exploitation of children is reprehensible, and HSI has highly skilled and dedicated special agents to investigate child exploitation crimes to ensure that we identify and arrest perpetrators while protecting our most vulnerable population, our children."

Authorities are asking anyone who knows of any similar alleged incidents regarding the defendant to call Homeland Security Investigations at 216-749-9602.