Former scoutmaster charged with trading child porn

Gerrett Conover, 47, of Woolwich Township, Gloucester County.
Gerrett Conover, 47, of Woolwich Township, Gloucester County.
Posted: September 24, 2012

A former scoutmaster for a Main Line Boy Scout troop has been charged with trading child pornography and allegedly admitted to a "close relationship" with a scout.

Gerrett Conover, 47, of Woolwich Township, Gloucester County, was scoutmaster of Radnor Troop 284 from at least 1999 until 2001, said Thomas Harrington, chief executive officer of the Boy Scouts Cradle of Liberty Council.

He was arrested Sept. 16 while trying to cross the border from Canada at Ogdensburg, N.Y. Authorities allegedly found child porn on a laptop computer he was carrying.

Federal prosecutors said Conover's involvement with the Boy Scouts dated to 1990.

Conover said he had a "close relationship" with a Boy Scout from when the boy was 10 until he was 17, according to prosecutors. They were allegedly together after scout meetings, at Conover's house and office, and on some four-day road trips.

Investigators found a shoe box of scout-related photographs at Conover's home. The pictures were labeled with dates and locations, such as "Maine 8/99" and "Summer camp '91 Cape Hatteras."

Conover, who used the online name "petersneaks," apparently had a fetish for children's sneakers and wearing diapers.

In an online chat, Conover allegedly wrote: "last night I was outside in just a diaper . . . out front [of his house] . . . I soooo wish my neighbors son sees me . . . hes like 14."

Conover allegedly said he wanted to "hang out at Kids Footlocker and watch boys . . . try on tiny sneakers."

Conover already had been under investigation by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement's Homeland Security Investigations in the alleged trading of child porn on the Internet and was on a federal watch list.

Harrington said Conover was registered as an assistant scoutmaster from 2002 until 2008, though he was largely inactive during that period and had moved to New Jersey. No complaints had been reported against Conover, Harrington said, who added that he spoke to Troop 284's current scoutmaster and was told Conover "left under good terms."

Federal authorities said Conover was discovered during an investigation out of Boston that has led to about 45 arrests. Authorities have identified 151 children as victims.

Conover had been released last Tuesday after posting $50,000 bail. He was arrested again Thursday after authorities allegedly found child porn on a computer at his house.

He has been ordered to remain in custody until a federal hearing Thursday in Camden.

If convicted, Conover faces a mandatory minimum of five years in prison and a maximum of 20 years, plus a $250,000 fine.


Contact Robert Moran at 215-854-5983 or bmoran@phillynews.com, or follow @RobertMoran215 on Twitter.

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