Federal officials issue public appeal in case of former Boy Scout leader accused of secretly recording boys

RICHLAND COUNTY, Ohio -- U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s (ICE) Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) special agents on Monday issued a public appeal into what they refer to as an ongoing child exploitation investigation.

Thomas Close, 40, who was a Boy Scout leader in Richland County, was indicted on federal charges in January of production of child pornography.

According to federal officials, Close secretly recorded boys changing after swimming as part of Boy Scout activities; he was reportedly known as “Aqua Joe” because he worked with the Boy Scouts of America, often with their swimming program.

The alleged crimes are believed to have happened in Ohio between 2011 and 2018, according to ICE HSI.

Close remains behind bars and is awaiting his trial.

ICE HSI is asking that if anyone suspects they or their children were recorded by Close, please reach out to Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) via email at HSI-CLOSE-Investigation@ice.dhs.gov.

**More information, here**

According to the release from federal officials, "The privacy of crime victims and survivors is of the utmost importance. Authorities will do everything in its power to protect the privacy of anyone who responds to this inquiry."

**Watch a past report in the video, above; read more, here**

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