Former Boy Scout volunteer in Oakdale arrested on molestation charges

kvaline@modbee.comSeptember 6, 2013 

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— The Stanislaus County Sheriff's Department has arrested a former Boy Scout troop leader on suspicion of molesting a teenage boy.

Oakdale resident Paul Birmingham, 55, was booked at the Stanislaus County Jail on Thursday on suspicion of child molestation, sodomy, oral copulation and giving pornography to a minor, according to a department news release issued Friday.

Birmingham has not been involved in Scouting since about 2004, said Rich McCartney, Scout executive at the Boy Scouts of America Greater Yosemite Council. The Modesto-based council oversees Scouting from Merced to Galt and from the Altamont Pass to Yosemite.

McCartney said Birmingham was removed as a volunteer after an allegation was made against him. McCartney said he did not know the nature of the allegation but said the police were contacted. The Stanislaus County Superior Court website does not show charges were filed in that alleged matter against Birmingham.

Sgt. Keith Rakoncza, a Sheriff's Department spokesman, said authorities released the information about Birmingham's time with the Boy Scouts "in case he had any additional inappropriate contact with any juveniles."

In the current incident, a 15-year-old boy told detectives July 28 that Birmingham "had initiated an inappropriate relationship with him since he was 13," according to the news release. Rakoncza said the alleged incidents did not take place in Oakdale.

McCartney, who has been with the Greater Yosemite Council since 2009, based his information on Birmingham on his discussions with staff members and volunteers who were with the council during Birmingham's tenure.

He said Birmingham's Scouting records were sent to the Boy Scouts' national organization, which is the standard practice when a volunteer has been removed. Although the Sheriff's Department reported Birmingham was a troop leader, McCartney could confirm only that Birmingham had been a volunteer.

Typically, men volunteer as troop leaders, Cub Scout pack leaders or troop committee members, who help run a troop.

Birmingham's family declined to comment Friday.

He was not in custody as of Friday afternoon, according to the jail's website. Rakoncza did not know why Birmingham was no longer in custody.

A 2001 Bee article on Oakdale's Boy Scout Troop 43 included Birmingham, who was one of eight men who attended the troop's Court of Honor ceremony as fathers and den leaders.

Anyone with information about this investigation is asked to call Detective Joe Delgado at (209) 525-7101. You can also leave an anonymous tip by calling Crime Stoppers at (209) 521-4636.

Bee staff writer Kevin Valine can be reached at kvaline@modbee.com or (209) 578-2316.