Former Harrisburg Boy Scout leader accused of making sexual advances on minor

Harrisburg
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HARRISBURG, Pa. (WHTM) — A 60-year-old former Boy Scout Leader is in custody, facing charges after a victim accused him of making sexual advances while serving as his leader.

Kenneth Barber of Harrisburg is facing charges of corruption of minors and unlawful contact with minors, among other related charges.

According to police documents, the victim’s former Boy Scout Leader, Barber, allegedly made sexual advances to the 17-year-old victim via text message and attempting to solicit sexual pictures.

The affidavit states the teen reached out to Barber who had paperwork he needed in order to achieve his Eagle Scout.

The victim shared the text messages from Barber with the police. In those messages, Barber allegedly requested to perform sexual acts on the victim and attempted to solicit photos from the minor.

Barber is free on $10,000 bail. A preliminary hearing will be held for Barber on March 2.

Ronald Gardner, Scout Executive, New Birth of Freedom Council, Boy Scouts of America released a statement about Barber:

In July 2019, we first learned that Mr. Barber had exchanged inappropriate text messages with a Scout and took immediate action to remove him from Scouting and prohibit him from any future participation in our programs. We promptly reported his actions to law enforcement and held a meeting to inform the troop’s parents.

These charges against Mr. Barber come more than six months after he was removed from Scouting and reported by the Boy Scouts of America (BSA) to law enforcement. We are disgusted by his behavior, which is reprehensible and runs counter to everything for which the BSA stands.

Nothing is more important than the safety and protection of children in our Scouting programs – it is our top priority. The BSA has a multi-layered process of safeguards informed by experts, including the following, all of which act as barriers to abuse: a leadership policy that requires at least two youth-protection trained adults be present with youth at all times and bans one-on-one situations where adults would have any interactions alone with children – either in person, online, or via text; a thorough screening process for adult leaders and staff including criminal background checks, and the prompt mandatory reporting of any allegation or suspicion of abuse. The BSA also offers a 24/7 Scouts First Helpline (1-844-SCOUTS1) and email contact address (scouts1st@scouting.org) for help reporting suspected abuse or inappropriate behavior and to request funding for in-person counseling.

In addition, the BSA has partnered with 1in6, a trusted national resource for male survivors, to meaningfully expand its online services so that more men who suffered abuse while in Scouting can access vital, anonymous support from trained advocates when and how they need it. Victims can access these services at www.1in6.org/BSA.  

For more information about the BSA’s youth protection policies, our commitment to supporting victims, and our efforts to be part of the broader solution to child abuse, please visit: www.scouting.org/youth-safety. 

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