What Parents Should Know About Former Cub Scout Leader's Child Porn Arrest

Jonathan Payne was a former Cub Scout leader for Pack 181 in Waukee before he was arrested on child pornography charges in October. Should parents be concerned?

There are few things more frightening for parents than finding out their children may have been in harm's way while under the supervision of another.

But that's what's going through the minds of some Waukee, Urbandale, Clive and West Des Moines parents today as they hear the news that a trusted leader is facing charges of possessing child pornography.

Jonathan David Payne, 35, of Waukee, a former Cub Scout leader for Pack 181 in Waukee, is set to go to trial next month to face charges that he received and possessed child pornography.

According to federal court documents, the images were discovered sometime between February 2010 and October 2011. He was arrested on Oct. 28, 2011.

Payne's trial in federal court is expected to begin March 5.

He is free pending trial but is forbidden from leaving Iowa or being in the presence of any children other than his own. His whereabouts are being electronically monitored, according to court papers filed in U.S. District Court in Des Moines.

His attorney, Peter Berger of Urbandale, declined to comment when contacted by Patch. A message left for Payne was not returned.

Boy Scout Reaction After Arrest

Bob Hopper, the scout executive for the Mid-Iowa Council of the Boy Scouts of America, said Payne's arrest meant immediate revocation of his membership and a lifetime ban from ever participating in Boy Scouts.

"We first made contact with Mr. Payne shortly after his arrest," said Hopper. "It was at that time that his membership was revoked barring him from having any contact with the program."

In the days after his arrest, a meeting was held for parents of the Cub Scouts in Pack 181 to make them aware of the allegations against Payne. Hopper said every step was taken to ensure the safety of all the scouts.

"Prior to meeting with the parents, we made absolutely sure that there was no evidence that any young people were involved in this behavior," he said. "After that, our attention turned to serving the kids as best as possible and making sure the program continues and those kids are safe."

Hopper said the organization registers more than 5,000 adult volunteers annually. Each applicant must pass a criminal background check.

"It's a little bit of a challenge but it keeps us safe," Hopper said. "All that does, though, is catch the people who have already been caught, not the ones who might offend. The last thing we want to do though is be complacent."

Payne's Involvement With Local Scouts

The Cub Scouts Pack 181, chartered by the , primarily serves first- through fifth-grade students from both and elementary schools. The two schools operate in the Waukee school district, covering students primarily from Urbdandale and Clive.

Cindi McDonald, associate superintendent of the , said she hasn't heard of any calls or complaints from parents since the news came out about Payne's arrest.

"If we had any questions at all, we would address them just like we would any other issue affecting our kids," she said. "We have all the supports in place to make sure that these kids are safe and that our focus is on education and continuing to provide a safe environment at all times."

Hopper said the reaction in October was that of shock. Now that Payne's arrest has come to light, he imagines parents will begin dealing with their emotions all over again.

"It’s devastating as a dad," he added. "When I hear things about things happening like this, I think,'You can’t undo that to a child's life.' I will confess, a lot of the reaction is anger. It makes us angry that children might be put in harm's way."

"I also have a lot of compassion for Mr. Payne’s family," Hopper concluded. "There is a family that has been devastated and that's hard to come back from."


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