Winnipeg Free Press - PRINT EDITION

Ex-Scout leader guilty of sex crimes

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AN award-winning former Scouts Canada leader is facing up to a decade in prison after pleading guilty to sex-related charges involving two teen boys.

Stuart Garrett Young, 40, admitted Wednesday to eight offences, including two counts of sexual assault, two counts of sexual interference, voyeurism and making and possessing child pornography. He will be sentenced April 15.

Crown and defence lawyers are expected to make a recommendation of between five and 10 years behind bars.

Winnipeg police arrested Young last summer following a lengthy investigation. Young led a group of girls and boys aged 14 to 17 in a program known as Venturer Scouts, which promotes outdoor activities and community service.

The sexual abuse of the two victims went on between 2008 and 2011 at Young's residence, said police. Nude photos of the boys were also taken.

"This would have been... a very brave and courageous thing to do for this victim to come forward," Winnipeg Police Service spokeswoman Const. Natalie Aitken said at the time. Aitken said the case highlights how a person in a "position of trust" can take advantage of children.

"This individual would have been a mentor to children," she said. John Petitti, Scouts Canada spokesman, told the Free Press Young had been a member of the organization since 1997 and a group leader since 2002. Young was recognized with a medal of merit for "especially good service," reported a 2006 Scouts Canada publication.

He was immediately suspended and Petitti said there was a meeting of the youth and parents of the group, where counselling was offered.

"It's a situation that of course we find very, very troubling," said Petitti. He said later: "Our first duty is to ensure the safety of our youth and the peace of mind of parents."

The organization did not identify which Scouts group Young worked with, but a source told the Free Press Young rented space in a facility in the city's Southdale area.

Petitti said Young had passed a series of police record checks, including one as recently as October 2009.

Republished from the Winnipeg Free Press print edition February 21, 2013 A4

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