Officials Speak on Boy Scout Chaperone Accused of Placing Hidden Cameras in Bathrooms at Summer Camp

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In the tranquil haven of St. Francois County, a shocking incident has unfolded that has sent shockwaves through the local community and beyond. A Boy Scout volunteer, identified as 39-year-old David Lee Nelson, stands accused of planting hidden cameras in showers and bathrooms at a popular summer campsite. This disturbing breach of privacy has left authorities and parents concerned about the safety of their children. In this article, we will delve into the details surrounding this case, including the actions taken by the Scouts and the steps being taken to bring justice to the victims.

The Serene Haven for Scouts

Nestled in St. Francois County, the campgrounds known as Camp Gamble have long been a favorite destination for thousands of boys and girls participating in scouting activities. The vibrant atmosphere of the camp, adorned with totem poles from various scout troops over the years, lends an air of excitement and camaraderie. However, this idyllic setting has been marred by a grave incident that has left both parents and officials horrified.

The Discovery of the Hidden Cameras

Last Friday, during routine maintenance checks, authorities discovered hidden cameras in the shower rooms at Camp Gamble. Nearly 20 St. Louis area scout troops were camping at the site at the time, making the findings all the more distressing. The cameras were strategically placed to invade the privacy of unsuspecting campers, capturing their most vulnerable moments.

The Accused Volunteer Chaperone

The responsible party, David Lee Nelson, was a trusted volunteer chaperone for one of the scout troops. Nelson, a 39-year-old man, now faces 15 felony counts of invasion of privacy and promoting child exploitation. He currently remains in the county jail on a half-million-dollar bond. The Greater St. Louis Area Scout Council expressed their deep sadness, disturbance, and anger in a statement, vehemently condemning Nelson’s actions.

The Swift Response and Ongoing Investigation

However, amidst the shock and dismay, there is a glimmer of hope. The statement released by the Scout Council indicates that it was also scout volunteers who discovered the devices and swiftly alerted the authorities. This prompt action not only led to Nelson’s quick arrest but also prevented further harm to innocent campers. The camp itself remains open, albeit under tight security measures.

Concerns and the Search for Victims

Local investigators have reported at least six known victims so far, including both adults and minors of both genders. The investigation is ongoing, and authorities are urging parents and volunteers to contact them with any relevant information that could aid in identifying three minor male victims whose identities remain unknown. It is important to note that Nelson has no previous criminal record and frequently returns to St. Louis County to volunteer with the Scouts.

The Call for Vigilance

While this incident has shaken the community, it also serves as a reminder of the vigilance required to ensure the safety of children in any organization. In response to concerns about the vetting process, one official stated that the Boy Scouts do a commendable job but emphasized that no process is foolproof. The incident highlights the potential for individuals to exploit positions of trust and victimize others.


The betrayal of trust displayed by David Lee Nelson has rocked the St. Francois County community and beyond. The Boy Scouts of America, an organization built on values such as integrity and respect, find themselves faced with a heartbreaking incident that goes against everything they stand for. However, by quickly addressing the situation and taking steps to support the victims, they have shown their commitment to ensuring a safe environment for all involved. As the investigation unfolds, it is crucial that parents, volunteers, and authorities remain vigilant to prevent similar incidents in the future.

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