Boy Scouts leader facing child porn charges

(WISH Photo, file)

INDIANAPOLIS (WISH) — An assistant scout leader faces federal charges after investigators said he possessed and distributed child pornography.

55-year-old Thomas Franks of Plainfield was arrested Monday and made an initial appearance in federal court on Tuesday.

On Nov. 2, the Indianapolis Metropolitan Police Department received information from the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children that an illegal image was being uploaded to an email account from a computer traced to Franks’ home.

“Well, it’s a quiet neighborhood so we don’t really have anything bad happen here,” said Christopher Jones, neighbor. “This is kind of like a shock, not just to my family, but I’m sure everyone else too.”

Jones lives right next door to Franks. He said he didn’t see the raid, but heard all about it.

“They kept saying, they were like, Tom got picked up by the police, and I’m like, what do you mean he got picked up by the police?” said Jones. “They had forensic bags and stuff like that, they were walking out and I’m like, Tom of all people? Again, he’s real quiet, older fella.”

According to investigators, Franks has been active in incest chat rooms for nearly four years, pretending to be the father of two young daughters. Franks would then receive images from other users in the chat room. Investigators say that more than 230 images were recovered from a computer and a flash drive.

The complaint documents also stated the photos were of young girls, some including toddlers.

“This kind of crime, I really think needs to be hit big because I mean the Jared Fogle thing that just happened,” said Jones. “This needs to be done. I think this is wrong this isn’t how people should think.”

 

Investigators said Franks was an assistant scout leader with Plainfield Troop 304.

“Our children deserve better from the people we place in positions of trust,” said United States Attorney Josh Minkler. “Those who chose to prey on the youngest of our citizens will be held strictly accountable and face the full wrath of federal prosecution.”

Franks is currently in the custody of he United States Marshal’s Service.

The Boy Scouts released the following statement:

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 in this case is encouraged to contact IMPD at 317-327-3553 or MCMEC at 800-843-5678.

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