Former boy scout speaks out after worker is accused of child pornography
LYONS (WHAM) - A former boy scout employee who is facing child pornography charges could be released as soon as Friday from federal custody.
Russell Ruth worked with the Boy Scouts in Ovid in Seneca County.
If Ruth is released, his attorney said he'd be going back to his home in Lyons, where he lives with a family friend, while his case is processed.
The judge didn't release Ruth on Wednesday, so as to give authorities time to investigate allegations he lives with an underage teenager at his home. His lawyer said it's a family friend going through tough times.
"He would always just help us with whatever we needed, and he was one of our friends," said a former scout who wanted to remain anonymous.
He said he was part of Ruth's troop a few years back. He describes him as someone the scouts looked up to.
"It's always the person you expect least," he added.
Federal investigators say Ruth joined the Boy Scouts in 1998 and was a Kraft's Director.
They said he often went on overnight camping trips with the boys.
"He's someone parents trusted with their kids, and he let everyone down," said the former Boy Scout.
He said he feels disappointed and betrayed.
He said Ruth was a part of his troop for more than five years, and at no time was he ever left alone with the kids.
"We have the buddy system, and we were never alone with someone, ever," he added.
Authorities said they found hundreds of images of child pornography on Ruth's phone and computer.
His attorney said he was seeking help.
"He was seeking to be evaluated so we can access what level of problem he has and what level of treatment he needs," said Clark Zimmerman, Ruth's lawyer.
Zimmerman said there's no indication Ruth ever had any sexual contact with boys.
However, prosecutors are still calling him a danger to the community. "The whole family is struggling with this, but they are supportive and want to get him whatever help he needs," said Zimmerman.
The former scout said Ruth's alleged actions shouldn't discourage others from joining the organization.
"It teaches you good life skills that I learned and still remember to this day and use daily," he added.
Ruth's family was in court. His lawyer said it's a symbol of the support he'll get if he's released from jail. Prosecutors continue to ask anyone who had any interaction with Ruth to come forward.