Ex-scoutmaster pleads guilty in child porn case

Posted: January 08, 2014

A Gloucester County man who was once a scoutmaster for a Main Line Boy Scout troop pleaded guilty Monday in District Court in Camden to distributing child pornography.

Gerrett Conover, 48, of Woolwich Township, entered the plea before U.S. District Judge Noel L. Hillman to distribution of child pornography, a charge that carries a mandatory minimum of five years in prison and a potential maximum of 20 years, as well as a $250,000 fine.

On Monday, Conover admitted that he distributed images of children engaged in sexually explicit conduct. Additional counts in the indictment were dismissed as part of the plea.

Conover already had been under investigation by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement's Homeland Security Investigations unit in the alleged trading of child porn on the Internet. He was arrested crossing into New York from Canada in September 2012. Federal agents found him in possession of a laptop containing images of sexually exploited children.

A search of Conover's home, where he lives alone, resulted in the seizure of other materials, according to a complaint, including an online conversation in which Conover allegedly said he had a "close relationship" with a Boy Scout from the time the boy was 10 to when he was 17. Charges related to that conversation were never filed.

Conover's connection with the Boy Scouts began in 1990 and ended around 2001, when he moved from Pennsylvania to New Jersey, authorities have said.

He was scoutmaster of Radnor Troop 284 from at least 1999 until 2001, Thomas Harrington, chief executive officer of the Boy Scouts Cradle of Liberty Council, said after Conover's arrest in 2012.

In online conversations collected as evidence, Conover, who often used the chat name "petersneaks," discussed a sneaker fetish and getting enjoyment out of wearing diapers.

Conover has been in custody since his arrest; his sentencing is scheduled for April 15.


jterruso@phillynews.com

856-779-3876 @juliaterruso

|
|
|
|
|