Former Boy Scouts employee faces child porn charges

BUFFALO, N.Y. (WKBW) - The U.S. Attorney's Office is looking for anyone who may have known or been a victim of a former employee of the Boy Scouts who is now accused of having child pornography.

U.S Attorney James Kenney says 34-year-old Russell Ruth not only had hundreds of images of child pornography on his cell phone and laptop, he also tried to upload images to the internet.

According to the U.S. Attorney's Office, in March, Yahoo! contacted the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children, reporting someone had uploaded five suspected child pornography files to a Yahoo! server. Law enforcement officials say they were able to trace those files back to Ruth.

Last month, New York State Police officers executed a search warrant on Ruth's home in Lyons, N.Y. and confiscated Ruth's laptop and cell phone. Authorities say a forensic search revealed hundreds of images of child pornography involving minor boys.

At the time, Ruth was working with the Boy Scouts of America in Ovid, N.Y. 7 Eyewitness News has learned that Ruth was an employee at Camp Babcock-Hovey, an overnight Boy Scout camp that serves Boy Scout troops from across the state, including those based in Western New York.

The Seneca County Scout Executive Stephen Hoitt has provided the following statement regarding Ruth's arrest and connection to the Boy Scouts of America.

For the last several weeks we have been participating with multiple law enforcement agencies regarding the investigation into Russell Ruth.

This individual’s behavior is abhorrent and runs counter to everything for which the Boy Scouts of America stands. Upon learning of the investigation, we took immediate action to remove this individual and prohibit him from any future participation in our programs.

At this point, we have been advised by law enforcement, there is no evidence of any improprieties happening anywhere within Camp or any Scouting program.

Nothing is more important than the safety of our youth members. We seek to prevent child abuse through comprehensive policies and procedures to serve as barriers to abuse. These include a thorough screening process for adult leaders and staff, criminal background checks, requiring two or more adult leaders be present with youth at all times during Scouting activities, the prompt mandatory reporting of any allegation or suspicion of abuse and advocating on behalf of victims when abuse is identified.

Anyone with any information on potential abuse should contact authorities to ensure the safety of our youth, in and out of Scouting.

The U.S. Attorney's Office is asking anyone who has information related to this case to contact the local HSI Buffalo Office at 716-464-5949. Victim-witness specialists will be available to assist any parent or guardian should they need victim-related resources.

In addition, anyone with general questions or concerns regarding sexual abuse of children or anyone who would like guidance on how to discuss this issue with children should call the Bivona Child Advocacy Center at 1-585-935-7800. 

Ruth was charged with possession of child pornography. The charge carries a maximum penalty of 10 years in prison and a $250,000 fine.   He's currently locked up pending a detention hearing scheduled for Wednesday afternoon.

 
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