Former Cub Scout leader charged with possessing child pornography

BURLINGTON, Mass. — A tip from an Australian law enforcement agency led Massachusetts officials to charge a Burlington man for allegedly possessing child pornography.

William Gates, 40, was arraigned in Middlesex Superior Court on five counts of possession of child pornography.

While the Boy Scouts of America declined to comment on findings regarding Gates, a statement sent to Boston 25 News assured that Gates was immediately removed from the program as soon as the organization learned of these allegations.

Below is a statement sent by the Spirit of Adventure Council, Boy Scouts of America:

"This behavior is abhorrent and runs counter to everything for which the Boy Scouts of America stands. While these allegations appear unrelated to Scouting, upon learning of these reports we took immediate action to remove this individual and prohibit him from any future participation in our programs. 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, and the prompt mandatory reporting of any allegation or suspicion of abuse. We do not share information about our current or former youth members, adult volunteer leaders or our employees. As this matter is ongoing, please direct questions to the Middlesex District Attorney's office. Or, for more information about the BSA's youth protection policies, please visit"

The BSA also added that they "not share information about current or former youth members, adult volunteer leaders or [their] employees" and that, if Gates' "background check indicated any previous history of inappropriate behavior, that person would not be allowed to participate in Scouting."

Gates, a former leader of the Cub Scout Pack 105, resigned from leadership of the pack in December 2017 and has not attended any meetings or events since, according to a statement released by Pack 105.

Pack 105 released a full statement on their website regarding the reports surrounding Gates:

The leadership of Pack 105 received the following information regarding a former leader of our Pack via a public news posting on today: 
'Mr. William Gates, was arraigned today, March 30 in Middlesex Superior Court and charged with multiple counts of possession of child pornography [...] please remember that these charges are allegations and the defendant is presumed innocent until proven guilty.' Will Gates resigned from leadership of Pack 105 in December 2017 and has not attended any Pack or Den events since his resignation. Pack 105's Executive Leadership members were copied on a letter dated December 15, 2017 addressed to William Gates from the Spirit of Adventure Council stating that he was not allowed to participate in any scouting events due to an ongoing investigation.  Our Executive Leaders spoke to our Council Leaders and were advised that these were only allegations therefore any communication within our Pack could have legal ramifications.  In light of this, we took our own internal measures to address the safety of all of our children. William Gates was removed from the Pack 105 Charter and Leadership Team. William Gates was notified to not attend any Scouting events including Pack Meetings. We made arrangements to ensure that William Gates was not in attendance at any Tiger or Wolf meetings and events as those are his children's dens. William Gates was removed as a Leadership Contact on our website. As of today, William Gates has no leadership access to Scoutbook (Cub Scout Advancement Program) and no personal access to any of our social media sites. Due to the privacy and sensitivity of this allegation, we as a leadership team have taken all precautions to protect your children based on the information we were given.  Pack 105 Leaders have all completed  Youth Protection Training and actively practice the 2-deep leadership rule which specifically states that no adult is to be alone with any child other than your own.  The safety and security of all of our children is our first priority. Please remember the Gates family are members of our community. For the sake of their children please keep this in mind when discussing this topic."

Gates was released on personal recognizance and ordered to refrain from having unsupervised visits with children under 18, to not work or volunteer with children under 18, to not use the internet without supervision and for employment purposes only, to not photograph children under the age of 18 and to abide by existing trespass orders from schools.

Back in November 2017, Homeland Security Investigators in Boston received a tip from an Australian law enforcement agency alerting them that an unknown person in the Boston-area may have been engaged with a website known to them for sharing child pornography.

After an investigation was conducted, local authorities were able to identify the person as William Gates of Burlington.

Multiple electronic devices were found at Gates' Burlington residence during the investigation.

Police found over 1,000 images of child pornography during forensic examinations on five separate devices.

Gate's next hearing is scheduled for April 24.

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