Former Boy Scout leader faces child porn charges - 14 News, WFIE, Evansville, Henderson, Owensboro

Boy Scout leader accused of possessing child porn

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Ryan Bieler. Ryan Bieler.
Map of Ireland, Ind. Map of Ireland, Ind.

A man who worked his way up to an executive position with the local Boy Scouts has now been accused of possessing child porn featuring young boys.

Tuesday afternoon at a press conference, the United States Attorney announced the "significant new prosecution" as part of the U.S. Attorney's Project Safe Childhood initiative.

33-year-old Ryan Bieler is alleged to have received and possessed sexually explicit materials depicting minor children.

Bieler is from Ireland, In, and was most recently employed as Senior District Executive of Boy Scouts Buffalo Trace Council based in Evansville and includes five counties: Warrick, Spencer, Perry, Pike, and Dubois.

"These types of cases are troubling, but they are made even more disturbing when the individuals charged are those who occupy positions of trust with our children," The US Attorney said. "Today's announcement marks the beginning of our investigation, not the end, and our Office will not rest as we seek justice for those who may have been victimized by these alleged acts."

According to the complaint, an investigation began in October 2010, centering on a movie production company located outside the United States.

On May 1, 2011, a search warrant was executed at offices owned by this company, and law enforcement seized hundreds of DVD movies and photographs allegedly depicting sexually explicit conduct by children. It was allegedly determined that these images and movies were being shipped worldwide, and documents listing customers were located and analyzed.

An alleged customer of the movie company was located in Ireland, Indiana, and the records identified him as Ryan Bieler.

On November 1, a search warrant was issued for his address. Bieler was home during the search, and agreed to speak with investigators.

During the search of the defendant's home, authorities say a number of data storage discs were found and examined, including DVDs purchased from the international movie company.

Many of these discs depict minors engaged in sexually explicit conduct. In addition, an initial forensic examination of the defendant's home computer allegedly revealed more images and movies depicting child pornography.

They say Bieler admitted to downloading and purchasing these materials, and that he also admitted to law enforcement that he had a sexual interest in minor children, with the materials located indicating a strong interest in minor boys.

Investigators located written material in the defendant's home in which Bieler describes his physical attraction to particular boys he has had access to and interaction with through his positions with the Boy Scouts of America. 

Authorities say the Boy Scouts of America are fully cooperating with federal law enforcement in their efforts.
 
The Buffalo Trace Council released this statement: 

The safety of our youth members is of paramount importance to the Buffalo Trace Council and the Boy Scouts of America. Along with the rest of the community, we were shocked to learn about the allegations against this individual. The behavior included in these allegations runs counter to everything for which the Boy Scouts of America stands. Upon learning of these allegations the council immediately terminated his employment and the BSA revoked his membership and permanently barred him from Scouting. The council has been working closely with the U.S. Attorney and law enforcement officers in their investigation of this matter. The BSA has a comprehensive youth protection program which includes education, chartered organization leader selection procedures, criminal background and other checks, barriers to abuse and prompt mandatory reporting. Because these allegations are currently under investigation, further questions should be directed to local authorities.

We found this statement, actually written by Bieler for a Boy Scout handout:

Let's Get Acquainted... Hi, I'm Ryan Bieler and your new Senior District Executive. My Scouting began in Ohio, where I was a Cub Scout, Boy Scout and finally an Eagle Scout after I moved to upstate New York. After serving as a Senior District Executive on Long Island, New York, I chose Indiana for my next location so that I would be back in the Midwest where I grew up.

Please invite me to a Pack, Troop, Crew or Post meeting so that I can get an opportunity to meet the leaders, parents and Scouts. You may contact me by email at __________. I look forward to meeting you in the near future."

Federal law enforcement released the photograph of the defendant, a move that is unusual for them, to allow possible victims of this man to contact them.

Anyone with information about the case should call (317) 328-2512. .
 
Formal charges are expected in the coming weeks, at which time additional criminal counts could be added.
 
"I urge parents to talk to their children, and I ask anyone with information about this case to contact the federal authorities as we move forward with this investigation," says the US Attorney.

This case was brought by the United States Postal Inspection Service, along with U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) Homeland Security Investigation (HSI) and the Indiana State Police, as part of the U.S. Attorney's Project Safe Childhood, a nationwide initiative to combat the growing epidemic of child sexual exploitation and abuse launched in May 2006 by the Department of Justice. 
 
According to Assistant U.S. Attorney Todd Shellenbarger, Bieler could face up to 10 years in prison for the count of possession of child pornography, and up to 20 years for the count of receiving child pornography, as well as substantial fines if he is found guilty. Bieler has been detained while he awaits a trial date, which has not been set at this time.

14 News is continuing to follow these breaking developments, and we will have the latest on air, online at 14News.com and on mobile with the 14 News mobile app.

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