Former Indiana Boy Scouts leader arrested on charges of distributing, possession of child porn

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PLAINFIELD, Ind. (Nov. 24, 2015)— A former Indiana Boy Scouts of America leader is facing child pornography charges.

Thomas Franks, 55, of Plainfield, was arrested at his house Monday on charges of distributing and possession of child pornography.

According to U.S. Attorney Josh Minkler, detectives with the Indianapolis Metropolitan Police Department received information from the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children regarding a pornographic image being uploaded to an email account. The images were traced to a computer at Franks’ home in Plainfield, Indiana, said authorities.

Franks is accused of communicating in incest chat rooms for nearly four years. Authorities say he would portray himself as a father of 6 and 8-year-old daughters. It is alleged Franks received sexually explicit images and videos of young children from other users in the chat room. Detectives recovered more than 230 images from a computer and thumb drive.

One of his neighbors recalled an eerie incident with Franks last year: “Last winter we noticed there were footprints from his garage to our granddaughter’s window. And we were not happy about that, but we never said anything to him.”

The granddaughter who lives in the home says it makes her feel sick: “Makes you feel pretty bad just to know he could do something like that. It’s sick just to think about.”

Franks was an assistant scout leader with Plainfield Troop 304 when he engaged in the alleged crimes. He remains in custody of the U.S. Marshal’s Service. Franks faces up to 20 years on each count if convicted.

The Boy Scouts of America released this statement Tuesday night:

Thomas Franks has been removed from the Boy Scouts of America. We are cooperating fully with the US Attorney’s office and IMPD detectives. We currently have no information that leads us to believe any of Mr. Franks’ alleged misconduct involved Scouts. His actions do not represent the values and ideals of our organization, youth members or adult leaders. The Boy Scouts of America takes the protection of youth very seriously and our highest priority continues to be the safety of our members through numerous procedures to prevent child abuse.

Anyone with information on this case is encouraged to contact IMPD Detective Laura Smith at 317-327-3553 or NCMEC at 800-THE LOST (843-5678).

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