Shriver, Donald

Donald C. Shriver

A former Boy Scout leader from Lakewood, N.Y., has been sentenced to jail and probation for fondling a Boy Scout at an East Mead Township campground nearly two years ago.

"There's no way this is consistent with any scouting principle," Judge Mark Stevens of Crawford County Court of Common Pleas said before sentencing Donald C. Shriver on Friday. "This thing is wrong."

Shriver, 74, of 282 Southland Ave. was sentenced by Stevens to serve 11 months to 24 months less one day in the Crawford County jail followed by five years of probation. Stevens also ordered Shriver to pay a $150 fine, court costs and have no contact with minor children unless they are biologically related to him.

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, from Aug. 18 to 20, 2017. Shriver, who was the child’s scout leader, was 73 at the time and the boy was age 12.

In January, Pennsylvania State Police charged Shriver with molesting the child. Shriver was charged 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 indecent assault of a person less than 13.

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. The two sides also negotiated a sentencing agreement as part of the plea agreement. Shriver could have been jailed for up to seven years and fined $15,000.

Shriver had spent 29 years with the Boy Scouts and served as a scout master, M. Dan Mason, Shriver's attorney, told the judge prior to the sentencing.

"(The victim) did the right thing (in reporting the incident)," Shriver said, speaking in his own defense. "I am responsible for my actions."

Shriver admitted to being around children at other events in his capacity with the American Legion following his arrest, "but I stayed in the background."

Shriver even praised his victim, saying, "I always thought (the victim) was one of the best Scouts I ever had."

While Stevens said he would honor the negotiated sentencing agreement, he was perturbed with Shriver.

"This is reprehensible," Stevens said of Shriver's behavior. "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."

While Shriver had no prior record and may have done all kinds of good works previously, "This is the kind of mistake that wipes it all out," Stevens said.

Violating the trust of children and their parents "is a parent's worst nightmare," Stevens said. "This is someone who should have known better."

Keith Gushard can be reached at 724-6370 or by email at kgushard@meadvilletribune.com.

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