Boy Scouts announce new nationwide background checks following local man's conviction

Boy Scouts of America (WBNS-10TV)

WESTERVILLE, Ohio - After a former Boy Scouts of America leader was found guilty of public indecency, the organization is now announcing changes when it comes to background checks.

Joseph Rice was arrested in February after Delaware County Prosecutor Carol O'Brien said Rice was spotted by a mother and daughter walking past his USPS truck where he was inside masturbating.

Rice has not been employed with the USPS since February, per the company.

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Rice, who was with Troop 560 in Westerville, had been charged with similar offenses before in 2002 and 2006. At the time, the Simon Kenton Council, which serves 19 counties in central and southern Ohio, said to the best of their knowledge, the council was not aware of previous cases.

10TV has learned background checks are currently conducted once in Boy Scouts of America (BSA) when an adult registers with the organization.

Simon Kenton Council, in a statement to 10TV said "Starting in 2020, rechecks will be performed every five years. All currently registered volunteers are being provided with disclosure and authorization forms permitting BSA to recheck backgrounds according to this updated policy. Those not returning authorization forms will not be renewed as registered leaders in the BSA."

Troop 560 is also taking a hit. Even though Rice has been removed from the system, according to BSA, the troop was recently dropped by its charter, Church of the Messiah, which had partnered with the troop for more than 50 years.

In a letter sent back in September, Rev. Jim Wilson told families he will not be signing the continuance for next year, because "we are living through changing times and areas of focus and attention change." The letter does not specifically talk about Rice or his case(s).

10TV reached out to Troop 560 and its scout leader and there was no official comment.

Simon Kenton Council confirmed the church's decision to step away while saying council volunteers and staff are working to find a new partner organization for Troop 560 and its families.

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