GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. – A former Gerber Boy Scout Camp director was sentenced to 95 years in federal prison for filming young boys dressing in a YMCA locker room and for a having a massive collection of child pornography. The sentence is the result of an extensive investigation conducted by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement's (ICE) Homeland Security Investigations (HSI).
Scott Allan Herrick, 40, of Twin Lakes, Mich., surreptitiously videotaped boys as they were dressing in the boys' locker room in the YMCA in Muskegon, Mich., where Herrick was a swim instructor. He also kept a massive collection of 100,000 images of child pornography with him at the Gerber Boy Scouts Camp in Twin Lakes. He was convicted at trial of three counts of attempting to produce child pornography. On the first day of trial, Herrick pleaded guilty to two counts of distributing child pornography and one count of possessing child pornography.
Chief U.S. District Judge Paul L. Maloney, who presided over the trial and sentencing, explained that the sexual exploitation of children by using institutions like the Boy Scouts and the YMCA, "tears at the social fabric of our country." Judge Maloney warned others who would use their positions of trust with children for sexual exploitation, "you will be punished severely."
In addition to being the camp director, Herrick also worked as a pool safety instructor for third-grade children at the YMCA in Muskegon. Herrick was trading child pornography online and was discovered during a series of undercover FBI operations. In July 2010, ICE HSI and FBI special agents executed a search warrant on the Gerber Boy Scout Camp and discovered evidence of child pornography. He was arrested and has been held in custody since that time.
"Herrick used and abused his position of trust in organizations dedicated to the health and welfare of children to satisfy his own perverse sexual interest in young boys," said U.S. Attorney Donald A. Davis, Western District of Michigan. "My office sought and secured firm punishment for this appalling violation of community trust and childhood innocence. My office places a high priority on child exploitation cases, which will mean very long and well deserved time in prison for offenders like Herrick."
"All children have an absolute right to grow up free from the fear of being sexually exploited," said Brian M. Moskowitz, special agent in charge of ICE HSI in Detroit. "And children should never have to fear those who are supposed to protect them. HSI and our partners will relentlessly pursue anyone who sexually exploits our kids in any way."
"The FBI is committed to protecting our most precious assets, our children," said Andrew G. Arena , special agent in charge of the FBI's Detroit Division. "Along with our law enforcement partners, the FBI will bring to justice those individuals who prey on the innocent."
This investigation is part of Operation Predator, a nationwide ICE HSI initiative to protect children from sexual predators, including those who travel overseas for sex with minors, Internet child pornographers, criminal alien sex offenders, and child sex traffickers. ICE HSI encourages the public to report suspected child predators and any suspicious activity through its toll-free hotline at 1-866-DHS-2-ICE or by completing its online tip form. Both are staffed around the clock by investigators.
Suspected child sexual exploitation or missing children may be reported to the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children, an Operation Predator partner, at 1-800-843-5678 or http://www.cybertipline.com.