COLUMBIA -- A former Boy Scout leader is in jail in Kershaw County, accused of inappropriately touching a 13-year-old in his Scouting troop while the boy's father was deployed in Afghanistan.
Russell Spitzer, 49, a father of three boys, is charged with distributing obscene material to a minor, contributing to the delinquency of a minor, assault with intent to commit sexual assault, and criminal solicitation of a minor, Elgin Police Chief Harold Brown said.
An assault, which involved touching, occurred in June or July at the boy's home, Brown said. From conversations with Spitzer and the boy, Brown said, nothing happened during any Boy Scout outings.
"But it's bad no matter where it happened," said Larry Brown, executive director of the Indian Waters Council, which oversees Boy Scout groups in eight Midlands counties.
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Spitzer also is accused of sending the boy sexual images and Internet links to pornographic and obscene material. He was denied bail Tuesday by a municipal judge, partly because he has a home in Nevada, where he works for a company training people to use machine guns, Chief Harold Brown said. He will have a bail hearing this morning in front of a circuit judge.
Spitzer was removed Friday from his post as committee chairman and Scout leader with the Indian Waters Boy Scouts Council, Larry Brown said. He is banned from volunteering with Boy Scouts anywhere, and his information was added to the organization's ineligible volunteer list, according to Brown.
All potential Boy Scout volunteers undergo a background check, Larry Brown said. Spitzer has no previous criminal history, according to records at the State Law Enforcement Division.
Spitzer got involved with the Boy Scouts in 1998 with his sons and was a registered volunteer who accompanied groups on activities and trips, Larry Brown said.
Spitzer had been in contact with the boy, now 14, over the past year after his father's deployment, Chief Brown said.
"He was in a position of trust as a Boy Scout leader and a friend," Harold Brown said of Spitzer's relationship to the boy.
The two communicated in person and over the Internet via text messaging, instant messaging and MySpace.com, a social networking Web site, Harold Brown said.
The boy's father returned from Afghanistan in the fall, and the child told his parents about the messages and assault after they confronted him about some things they saw on his MySpace page, Harold Brown said.