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Ex-Scout Camp Leader Gets Life Sentence For Child Porn

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KALAMAZOO (AP) - The former leader of a popular Boy Scout camp in western Michigan was sentenced Thursday to 95 years behind bars for child pornography.

Federal prosecutors had asked for 140 years for Scott Herrick. U.S. District Judge Paul Maloney in Kalamazoo settled on 95 years, effectively a life sentence.

The 40-year-old Herrick pleaded guilty last year to possessing child pornography and was convicted at trial of secretly videotaping boys in the locker room at a Muskegon YMCA.

Prosecutors have said Herrick had more than 100,000 images of child pornography, most involving boys. Computer hard drives and pornographic videos were hidden in a ceiling at the Gerber Boy Scout Camp in Muskegon County.

Defense lawyer Chris Houghtaling asked for a 15-year sentence. An appeal is planned.

Houghtaling called the sentence “rather daunting.”

“Mr. Herrick has lived an exemplary life of service. Unfortunately he became involved with child pornography while the other 38 years of his life were commendable,” the attorney said.

There was no allegation of sexual assault, although the government claims Herrick supplied alcohol to boys, showed them pornographic videos and held a knife to their throats to show them “who’s boss.” In a court filing, Assistant U.S. Attorney Daniel Mekaru said Herrick was “evil and exploitive.”

Herrick “insinuated himself into a position of trust and authority within two internationally renowned organizations that are dedicated to the welfare and advancement of our children,” the prosecutor said.

Ahead of the hearing, the judge received a five-page letter from Herrick, who described his four-year career as a Marine, including the rescue of a child swept out to sea in Hawaii in 1994. He said he had spent his adult life serving other people in the armed forces or through various nonprofit groups.

“I realize that none of these `good deeds’ can make up for my actions. … I often think about the thousands of young people who have looked to me for guidance, and now I have let them down,” Herrick wrote.

He said he didn’t create the pornography and at first believed he “wasn’t causing any harm.”

“I now understand how wrong that mentality was,” Herrick wrote.

© Copyright 2011 The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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