Former Lakewood Scout leader sentenced for fondling boy

Donald C. Shriver

MEADVILLE — A former Boy Scout leader from Lakewood, N.Y., will serve 11 to 24 months less one day in the Crawford County Jail and five years probation after fondling a Boy Scout in Pennsylvania about two years ago.

Donald C. Shriver was sentenced in the Crawford County Court of Common Pleas on Friday. He is also sentenced to pay a $150 fine, court costs and have no contact with minor children unless they are biologically related to him, according to the Meadville Tribune.

Shriver pleaded guilty in April to a charge of corruption of minors, a third-degree felony, for touching the boy’s genitals during a sleepover scouting event at Camp Chickasaw, 8848 S. Wayland Road, East Mead, Pa., from Aug. 18 to 20, 2017. Shriver, who was the child’s scout leader, was 73 at the time and the boy was 12.

Shriver was charged in January by Pennsylvania State Police with third-degree felony counts of corruption of minors and unlawful contact with a minor – sexual offenses as well as first-degree misdemeanor counts of indecent assault of a person less than 13, endangering the welfare of children and criminal attempt at the indecent assault of a person less than 13.

The Meadville Tribune reported that, in April, Shriver agreed to plead guilty to the corruption of minors charge in a plea agreement with the Crawford County District Attorney’s Office with the other charges not prosecuted while also negotiating a sentencing agreement. Shriver could have been jailed for up to seven years and fined $15,000.

Shriver was immediately removed from scouting as soon as Allegheny Highlands Boy Scout Council officials found out about the allegation. Nate Thornton, who became scout executive for Allegheny Highlands on May 1, 2018, told The Post-Journal that the council did everything it could to respond to the event so that law enforcement could take over.

“This individual’s behavior is reprehensible and runs counter to everything for which the Boy Scouts of America stands,” Thornton said in a statement. “Upon learning of these reports in late 2017, we removed this individual and prohibited him from any future participation in the Boy Scouts of America.”

According to the Meadville Tribune article, Shriver said the youth did the right thing reporting the incident and complimented the youth as “one of the best Scouts I ever had,” according to the Meadville Tribune article. Shriver also admitted to being around children at other events in his capacity with the American Legion but that he had stayed in the background.

Judge Mark Stevens of the Crawford County Court of Common Pleas said he would honor the plea and sentencing agreement reached between prosecutors and Shriver’s attorney even though the judge said he had a hard time characterizing the incident as a mistake.

“This is reprehensible,” Stevens said of Shriver’s behavior, according to the Meadville Tribune. “I’m floored to somehow characterize these actions as a mistake. This is wrong. Scouting is an organization that at its core is to make people better.”

Shriver had no prior criminal record and had spent 29 years with the Boy Scouts, including several years as a scoutmaster.

“This is the kind of mistake that wipes it all out,” Stevens said, according to the Meadville newspaper. “Violating the trust of children and their parents “is a parent’s worst nightmare,” Stevens said. “This is someone who should have known better.”