Scouts whistleblower honored

Police and sheriff's office recognize Adam Steed for his service to the community

By PETER ZUCKERMAN
pzuckerman@postregister.com

It took about eight years for Adam Steed to get the credit the Bonneville County Sheriff's Office and the Idaho Falls Police Department said he deserved.

On Monday, the boy who stopped a serial pedophile at a Boy Scouts camp in 1997 received an award from the police and the sheriff in "recognition of outstanding dedication and service to the citizens of the community."

Until earlier this year, few people knew what Steed had done as a 14-year-old junior counselor at Camp Little Lemhi. Two of the court cases that detailed what had happened were hidden.

Sick of being preyed on, Steed, with help from his brother, Ben, convinced Boy Scouts leaders in 1997 to report program director Brad Stowell, who molested at least 24 children from Idaho to Alaska.

"He changed a bad situation that had far-reaching affects," Sheriff Byron Stommel said. Police Chief J.K. Livsey said that by speaking out bravely when few others would, Steed probably saved dozens of children from being molested.

Steed's actions came with a cost. Stowell spread lies about what happened, and peers taunted the boy and picked on him. Steed, so disgusted with how Boy Scouts staff had treated him, decided not to pursue an Eagle Scout award.

After the Post Register published a series of articles about what happened at the camp, some people sent Steed hate mail.

"But most the letters have been good," he said, adding that the people who wrote the hate mail rarely signed their letters or spelled things correctly.

One woman told his family she thanks God every single day for what Steed did. Now that a more complete account of what happened at the camp is available, he said, people understand what actually happened.

Several officials also received awards at the 12th annual Law Enforcement Appreciation Day luncheon hosted by the Greater Idaho Falls Chamber of Commerce at the Red Lion on the Falls. Among them were Idaho Falls Officer Darin Moulton, who stopped a man who shot a fellow officer, and Bonneville County Prosecutor Dane Watkins Jr., who got the police-shooter convicted.

Idaho Falls reporter Peter Zuckerman can be reached at 542-6750.

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