Article from St. Louis Post-Dispatch.
St. Louis, MO – A man charged last week with sexually abusing children and possession of child pornography had volunteered with the Boy Scouts at a Catholic school in south St. Louis County.
The Greater St. Louis Area Council of Boy Scouts of America would not say where or when Jonathan Askew was associated with the organization. But the Archdiocese of St. Louis said he had volunteered with the Boy Scouts at St. Mark Catholic Church’s parish school.
Neither the parish nor the school had ever received a complaint about Askew, 49, according to the archdiocese. He moved his children out of the parish school “several years ago” and his involvement with the Boy Scouts there ended, according spokeswoman Elizabeth Westhoff. St. Mark is at 4220 Ripa Avenue.
Askew, of the 4800 block of Heidelberg Avenue, was charged Friday with promoting and possessing child pornography, statutory sodomy and attempted statutory sodomy.
Police say Askew kept a hard drive at his home with more than 1,000 images of child pornography, including photos he took while molesting children, 4 and 6, last fall. Police say that abuse took place at his home in South County.
School officials at St. Mark Catholic Church learned about the allegations against Askew from news reports. The school then sent a letter home to parents notifying them and noting that he had passed all of his background checks before he was allowed to volunteer with the Boy Scouts there.
The school had no indication that any misconduct occurred on St. Mark’s property or at any parish-sanctioned events, according to the letter.
A spokeswoman for the Boy Scouts confirmed Askew was a volunteer, but refused to release any additional information, referring questions to police.
St. Louis County police say the investigation is ongoing, but they did not release any additional information in response to requests for a timeline of Askew’s involvement with children’s organizations.
The letter to St. Mark’s parents encouraged parents and children to contact police if they ever witnessed any inappropriate behavior by Askew. The letter also said parents with concerns about his behavior should contact the archdiocese’s Office of Child and Youth Protection at 314-792-7704.
Big Brothers Big Sisters of St. Louis also confirmed that Askew volunteered with the organization for a “short period of time in the early 1990s,” but declined to say why he had left, citing policy.
Askew is a former Missouri corrections officer. He worked at the Farmington Correctional Center from February 2011 until August 2012 when he transferred to the Missouri Eastern Correctional Center in Pacific. A Department of Corrections spokesman said Askew resigned in January 2014.
Askew was being held at St. Louis County Jail with bail set at $200,000.
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