Council to meet after Scoutmaster charged with sexual assault

LAKEWOOD – Following the alleged sexual assault of a 12-year-old boy scout from his scoutmaster, the Allegheny Highlands Council will host a members-only meeting today regarding the importance of prevention of such crimes.

Nate Thornton, the council’s scout executive, announced that scout leaders will be convening to address the importance of Youth Protection training, the service that equips parents and leaders with the tools necessary to address suspected abuse, inappropriate behavior and bullying.

“We’re really going to be stressing the importance of our Youth Protection training,” Thornton said.

The Lakewood Boy Scout leader, 74-year-old Donald C. Shriver, will be going to trial on charges he sexually assaulted a 12-year-old boy during a 2017 camping event in East Mead Township, Pa.

“He was removed immediately from scouting,” Thornton said of Shriver.

Shriver allegedly touched the boy’s genitals and made other attempts to touch them during an event at Camp Chickasaw on Aug. 18-20, 2017.

Thornton, who became scout executive for Allegheny Highlands on May 1, 2018, said the council did everything they could to respond to the event so that law enforcement could take over.

“This individual’s behavior is reprehensible and runs counter to everything for which the Boy Scouts of America stands,” Thornton said in a statement. “Upon learning of these reports in late 2017, we removed this individual and prohibited him from any future participation in the Boy Scouts of America.”

According to the Meadville Tribune, Shriver waived his preliminary hearing before Magisterial District Judge Amy Nicols. The paper said 73-year-old Shriver, of Southland Avenue in Lakewood, was the victim’s Boy Scout leader at the time of the event at Camp Chickasaw, located on South Wayland Road in East Mead Township, Pa.

He faces third-degree felony charges of corruption of minors and unlawful contact with a minor – sexual offenses. In addition, Shriver faces first-degree misdemeanor charges of indecent assault of a person less than 13, endangering the welfare of children and criminal attempt at indecent assault of a person less than 13.

“Nothing is more important than the safety and protection of children in our Scouting programs – it is our top priority,” Thornton continued. “The BSA is outraged there have been times when scouts were abused, and we sincerely apologize to victims and their families.

“The BSA strives to prevent child abuse through a comprehensive program which includes as safeguards: 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, and the prompt mandatory reporting of any allegation or suspicion of abuse.

“The BSA also offers assistance with counseling to any scout, former scout or the family member of any scout who suffered abuse during their time in scouting.”

Anyone who needs assistance for these scouting-related matters can contact the BSA by toll-free helpline at 855-295-1531 and scouthelp@scouting.org. Youth Protection polices can be viewed at bsayouthprotection.org.

Shriver was released on $25,000 unsecured bond. A trial in the case will be scheduled for the May term of criminal court, the Meadville Tribune reported.

Michael Mason, Shriver’s attorney, declined to comment when reached by phone.