Long Island Boy Scout leader facing child porn charges, had hidden camera at home

CENTRAL ISLIP, Long Island (WABC) -- A Long Island town buildings permit examiner who also served as a Boy Scout leader is under arrest, accused of possessing child pornography.

Damon Rallis, 46, who previously served as vice-chair of the Southold Town Democratic Committee and also ran for town supervisor, also served as Scout Cubmaster and Scoutmaster for Boy Scout Troop 51 in Greenport.

Prosecutors say he had images of "male toddlers engaged in sexually explicit conduct and poses" on his computer. He was released on $200,000 bond following a virtual court appearance in Central Islip.

"All of this is insane to me," his wife said during the hearing, where she agreed to put her home up as collateral.

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As a condition of his bond, Rallis was ordered to home incarceration, meaning he has to stay in his home at all times. He also surrendered his passport.

Prosecutors also said his status with the Boy Scouts gave him regular access to children, especially boys, which is extremely troubling given the charges.

They say he admitted to deleting pictures after viewing them and also said he had at least one small hidden camera he admitted to using in his home without the knowledge of anyone in the house.

Images have not been completely recovered, but a brief forensic review has not revealed any images of children. However, they say it does show different parts of the house, including a bedroom and bathroom, and one piece of footage was from the bathroom and angled toward the toilet to capture someone using it.
Prosecutors described that as another disturbing part of the narrative.

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Rallis' lawyer said he is a lifelong Long Island resident with no criminal history, and she said the allegations are only that he viewed the images on his computer, not that he touched or harmed any child.

She said he would not associate with the Boy Scouts while awaiting trial.

Rallis is a longtime Southold Town employee.

"We are shocked and disgusted by these charges," Town Supervisor Scott Russell said. "As of this afternoon, the employee is being suspended while the town conducts its own investigation of these allegations."

Rallis faces mandatory minimum of five years in federal prison if convicted.

Ryan DiBernardo, Scout Executive/CEO, Suffolk County Council, Boy Scouts of America, released the following statement to Eyewitness News:

"This individual's behavior is reprehensible and runs counter to everything for which the Boy Scouts of America stands. While the arrest appears to be unrelated to Scouting, upon learning of these reports we took immediate action to remove this individual from Scouting and prohibit him from any future participation in our programs. We will continue to cooperate fully with federal and local law enforcement as they investigate this matter. Nothing is more important than the safety and protection of youth in our Scouting programs -- it is our top priority. The BSA strives to prevent child abuse through a comprehensive multi-layered process of safeguards informed by experts, which includes:
--Ongoing mandatory youth protection education for all volunteers, parents, and Scouts;
--A formal leader selection process that includes criminal background checks and other screening efforts;
---Policies and procedures to serve as barriers to abuse, such as mandating two-deep leadership and prohibiting one-on-one situations where adults would interact with children - either in-person, online, or via text;
--Prompt mandatory reporting to the authorities of any allegation or suspicion of abuse; and,
--Database system that is recommended by experts to prevent individuals from reregistering in Scouting who were removed because they do not meet the BSA's standards or because of known or suspected abuse or other misconduct, either inside or outside the organization."

The BSA also offers a 24/7 Scouts First Helpline (1-844-SCOUTS1) and email contact address (scouts1st@scouting.org) for help reporting suspected abuse or inappropriate behavior and to request funding for in-person counseling."


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