22 Feb Suspected Child Molester May Have More Victims
The man arrested Tuesday for allegedly molesting a boy he met through Boy Scouts has told investigators that he victimized three other boys as well. George Robert Fout, 25, reportedly told detectives that he watched child pornography on his computer as a way to control his urge to molest youngsters. But he did molest children, he told them, including one Boy Scout he met eight years ago and three others.
It was the child pornography that brought investigators to Fout’s home in Silver Springs Shores on Tuesday. While investigating cases of child pornography in late January, Marion County Sheriff’s Detective Michael Dodd found files of children engaging in sex being downloaded to a computer in the Shores. He obtained a search warrant and went to the residence at 542 Silver Course Loop.
Fout was asleep when Dodd and deputies arrived at the home he shares with his parents. Fout’s mother told Dodd that she only plays games on the computer and that her husband rarely uses it. She said her son is the only one who knows about computers.
Detective Clinton Smith said Fout awoke and at first denied knowing anything about child porn. But then he opened up and showed investigators graphic images and videos on his computer and explained that he had molested four boys. “He was open about everything. He wanted to tell us everything,” Smith said.
Fout, 25, has been charged with 28 counts of possession of child pornography. He also has been charged with one count of capital sexual battery, two counts of lewd and lascivious molestation and two counts of sexual battery, all related to one victim.
Detectives believe they know the identity of the other victims but are trying to confirm the assaults and have not charged Fout with those crimes yet.
Smith said that during the interview Fout hung his head and declared, “I’m a bad person.” He went on to call himself a “monster” and said “it was a mistake I was born.” Smith said Fout talked about having dreams of being in front of a judge, admitting what he did to children, and how he would spend the rest of his life in jail.
The detective said it appeared Fout’s secret was weighing on him and that “he wanted to tell someone.” Fout told Smith he met one boy eight years ago when the youngster was a Boy Scout. The molestation began then and continued to the present. The boy is now 16. Fout reportedly described himself as a friend and mentor to the victim.
Smith spoke with the victim, who reportedly confirmed that the abuse began when he spent the night at Fout’s home. He told the detective about other occasions and said that each time, Fout would tell him not to tell anyone.
Fout’s online LinkedIn page lists him as owner of Byte-by-Byte Computers and as an Eagle Scout. The company website also lists him as an assistant scout master.
“Our family is actively involved in the local Boy Scout program, where we have taught the Computer Merit Badge,” the website states. Fout also was listed as a contact on the Facebook page of a local Scout troop.
But Jack Sears, chief executive officer of the North Florida Council, Boys Scout of America, said Fout was in a Boy Scout troop and Cubs Scouts, but as a volunteer, not as a scout leader. “The health and safety of all scouting participants are our top priority. Our hearts and prayers go out to any victims of child abuse,” said Sears. “The Boy Scouts of America immediately removed Mr. Fout when informed by the Marion County Sheriff’s Office of the allegations. We’re currently in cooperation with the Sheriff’s Office.”
Fout’s father, who reportedly is a scout leader, declined to comment.
On Wednesday morning, Fout appeared before Judge Sarah Ritterhoff Williams via video link from the Marion County Jail to the judicial center downtown. Dressed in brown pants, signifying that he is on suicide watch at the jail, and a red and white top and flip-flops, Fout told the judge he wanted a public defender.
He said he lives with his parents and was starting an online business but did odd jobs around the community, usually making $100.After he told the judge he had $7,000 to $8,000 in savings, she denied him a public defender. An assistant state attorney requested that the judge deny bail “due to the nature of these cases.”
But the judge rejected that request, setting bond at $10,000 each for the 28 counts of possession of child pornography and $250,000 each for the other five charges, for a total of $1,530,000.
The judge ordered Fout to stay away from computers and avoid contact with any children. “No contact means no contact,” the judge said firmly. Fout declined an interview request following the hearing.