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Ex-scout leader surrenders, charged with endangerment

A former Chester County Boy Scout leader and school computer technician accused of having indecent contact with two boys surrendered to authorities this morning in Oxford district court.

Matthew C. Lewis, 27, of Malvern, was charged with endangering the welfare of children, indecent assault of a person less than 13, corruption of minors and related offenses for conduct that occurred on July 17, 2006, in one criminal complaint, and lesser charges for conduct that occurred in July 2007 in a second complaint, court records said.

Lewis's attorney, S. Lee Ruslander, did not return telephone calls seeking comment.

Troopers began an investigation after Boy Scout personnel contacted authorities about allegations of inappropriate conduct by Lewis at the Horseshoe Scout Reservation in West Nottingham Township, according to a a news release from the Avondale barracks.

Investigators said Lewis had indecent contact with one boy, who was 11 or 12 at the time, during a weeklong summer camp in 2006. According to the criminal complaint, Lewis tried to meet with the boy alone about six months later, but the boy refused.

Lewis is accused of attempting to solicit another boy aged 11 or 12 during the summer of 2007, to engage in indecent exposure; however, that boy rebuffed Lewis's efforts, the release said.

Lewis, a school computer technician for the district, was placed on administrative leave on Friday, said Jennifer Blake, community relations coordinator for the Great Valley School District. She said he had worked in computer support for the district, primarily for the elementary schools, since July 2008.

An e-mail was sent to parents on Friday advising them of the arrest. "Upon advice of counsel, we cannot comment on the details of the charges, except to say that they are in no way related to any conduct or behavior involving the Great Valley School District," said the message from Superintendent Alan J. Lonoconus.

The school board is expected to decide at a meeting this evening whether Lewis's suspension will be paid or unpaid. She said the district was notified of the investigation in August and was advised by its solicitor to wait until charges were filed to take any job action, Blake said.

On Friday, Tom Dintaman, the assistant Scout executive for the Chester County Council of the Boy Scouts, said Boy Scout officials, who were "shocked and saddened" by the news, terminated Lewis as soon as the allegations surfaced.

Dintaman said Lewis had worked as a volunteer leader in a variety of capacities, including at Camp Horseshoe, since he graduated from Scouting at 18. Dintaman said authorities were contacted as soon as the boys reported the behavior.

Lewis was arraigned today on the charges. Magisterial District Judge Harry W. Farmer Jr. set bail of 10 percent of $10,000 on each complaint, which Lewis posted. He was released to await a preliminary hearing on Dec. 28, the release said.