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Posted on Sat, Jul 28, 2012 : 10 a.m.

Former Scout leader sentenced to 5 years probation for possessing child pornography

By John Counts

Frank Bertram Jr., 67, a former assistant scoutmaster with the Great Sauk Trail Council, will not be allowed to use a computer during the five years of probation he will serve for possessing child pornography.

“I’m very sorry for what I did,” Bertram said before his sentencing in Judge Archie Brown’s courtroom in the Washtenaw County Trial Court July 18. “I went down the wrong road.”

According to records obtained through the Freedom of Information Act, a search warrant was obtained June 2, 2011 to search Bertram’s Scio Township home. Police located a computer that contained a video of two young boys engaged in sexual acts, according to federal court records.

“(A computer) found in the hallway closet next to several cameras and mini DV tapes, contained child pornography and was seized along with all other media in the closet,” read the report from the Washtenaw County Sheriff’s Office.

While officers from the sheriff’s department, the Ann Arbor Police Department and the Federal Bureau of Investigation were searching Bertram’s home, a man called and left a message regarding his Boy Scout son, according to the report. Up until that point, officials did not know Bertram was a Boy Scout leader.

Bertram first came to the attention of authorities while working as a chemist for the Environmental Protection Agency’s Ann Arbor office. In October 2011, an EPA official contacted the Federal Bureau of Investigations regarding ““inappropriate activities conducted on an EPA computer.”

Bertram had been using his work computer and EPA Internet connection to access pornography and “boy lover” websites, according to court records. There were at least eight of these types of websites Bertram visited. Bertram also had a blog where he discussed his sexual interest in young boys and alluded to himself as a scout leader.

According to court records, on one of the websites, going by the screen name “bibiker,” Bertram posted over 200 messages, one of which indicated Bertram volunteered at a boy’s camp and was excited by the prospect of being able to “spend time with about 25 or 30 boys tonight!”

Authorities also discovered image files consisting of “nude and partially-clothed photographs of pubescent and pre-pubescent boys” on one of Bertram's computers.

A search warrant was then obtained and Bertram’s house, where they located the video on his private computer. The video was obtained using the Limewire file sharing system.

When interviewed, Bertram “admitted that he had occasionally used the … computer to view images and movies using Limewire, but did not discuss the specifics of the images and videos,” according to court records.

The case against Bertram initially was filed in the federal court, but dismissed in September and instead pursued in the lower courts. On Jan. 17, he stood mute at his preliminary examination in district court. In April, the four counts of possession of child sexually abusive material were bound over to circuit court. On May 30, Bertram pleaded guilty to one count in a plea bargain that dropped the three other counts.

It’s previously been reported that Bertram is no longer associated with the Boy Scouts. The EPA’s Ann Arbor office said he no longer works there and is retired.

During his sentencing hearing, Bertram said he suffers from depression and other mental issues he was trying to get under control.

“I’m now on the right road,” he said.

A stipulation of his probation is that he is not to have a computer or be connected to the Internet in anyway without written permission.

Bertram’s attorney, Douglas Mullkoff, told the court he hoped that considering that how pervasive computers are in our culture, the order could possibly be looked at again in the future.

“Hopefully within five years, living in this world we’re living in, that might be relaxed,” he said.

John Counts covers cops and courts for He can be reached at or you can follow him on Twitter.



Mon, Aug 13, 2012 : 3:25 a.m.

As one of the boys in the troop and a close family friend to him, I can say with full confidence that nothing he did endangered the children in the troop. Everything that people say about him touching and hurting kids in the Boy Scout Troop is completely unwarranted. If you knew him as a person nothing would be said like this. Whilst I can not defend his actions, I can say he is a good person. Anyone who judges him solely on this should think about how they would feel if people said this about one of their close friends/family member. One mistake, however big or small, does not define one's character.


Tue, Jul 31, 2012 : 6:27 p.m.

They didn't say that they checked to make sure none of his pictures and videos were of any former scouts that he "lead"...5 years probation is way to lenient! He posted on a website that he was excited to spend time with 25-30 boys...


Mon, Jul 30, 2012 : 2:17 a.m.

And his attorney thinks 5 years off the computer/internet is too harsh? He shouldn't ever be allowed to use a computer/internet again as long as he lives if you ask me. And to "Harm", yes viewing child porn is evil. Not only does it fill the persons mind with illicit, perverted images involving children, it also encourages the evil child abusers that are in this illegal business to continue exploiting and raping children to make even more disgusting videos to feed perverse minds.

Elijah Shalis

Sun, Jul 29, 2012 : 11:23 p.m.

He only got probation? I am confused. There was the case of Suric Hayes whom got jail time. Why did this guy just get probation?

Barb's Mom

Sun, Jul 29, 2012 : 1:25 p.m.

Are these dates wrong? You say " a search warrant was obtained June 2, 2011" then "In October 2011, an EPA official contacted the Federal Bureau of Investigations" then "The case against Bertram initially was filed in the federal court, but dismissed in September and instead pursued in the lower courts.". It is now only July 2012 so how could something be filed in Federal court that was brought to the FBI in October 2011 and be dismissed in Sept. There hasn't been a September since Oct 2011.


Sun, Jul 29, 2012 : 4:27 a.m.

How could one possibly equate gay with being attracted to little boys. If you are straight, you aren't attracted to little girls. I really hope this concept hasn't gone over too many people's heads.


Sun, Jul 29, 2012 : 2:01 a.m.

Hmm, I thought they weren't allowed to be associated with BSA.


Sun, Jul 29, 2012 : 1:14 a.m.

All things considered, Mr. Bertram seems to be one lucky buckaroo.


Sat, Jul 28, 2012 : 8:02 p.m.

Do not trust your kids with people who are in positions of power: priests, ministers, scout leaders etc. Always be diligent, because your child's future is in your hand. Evil exists, make your plans accordingly.


Mon, Jul 30, 2012 : 1:14 a.m.

People in position of power, and - unfortunately, sadly - people you trust.


Sun, Jul 29, 2012 : 8:39 p.m.

Mr. Bertram was convicted of looking at pictures, not molestation, or MAKING porn. Illegal, yes, but maybe 'evil' is a bit strong.

Dog Guy

Sun, Jul 29, 2012 : 1:38 a.m.

You failed to mention teachers, braggslaw, and I am offended by your omission.


Sat, Jul 28, 2012 : 8:14 p.m.

"...positions of power..." He also worked for the federal government.

Dog Guy

Sat, Jul 28, 2012 : 5:01 p.m.

"In the closet" it says.

Top Cat

Sat, Jul 28, 2012 : 4 p.m.

Thankfully, the Boy Scouts of America are doing their best to keep people like this out of Scout Leadership and giving number one priority to protecting our children.


Wed, Aug 8, 2012 : 7:35 p.m.

Oh please - the BSA are doing squat about this type of abuse. Look at the following:,0,5822319.story The BSA has a history of covering up for pedophiles and then allowing them back in. This is no different than the Catholic Church shuffling pedophilic priests from one church to another without telling anyone about the priests background.


Sun, Jul 29, 2012 : 9:40 p.m.

Yeah, just like the Catholic Church, or college football. Tell me, why are the most homophobic organizations so rife with pedophiles. I'm sorry, but I don't see pedophilia scandals in gay organizations.


Sat, Jul 28, 2012 : 10:29 p.m.

You're not seriously associating homosexuality with child pornography are you?


Sat, Jul 28, 2012 : 3:56 p.m.

Why no photo of the perp? Just because he was a "professional" in the community doesn't negate the reality of his crimes and his mug shot should accompany this article, just like any other criminal.


Sat, Jul 28, 2012 : 5:59 p.m.

@JRW: excellent observation. Shame is a deterrent in low crime areas of the world, Japan for instance. A photo might also help parents protect their kids. @John Counts: Thank-you for your efforts.

John Counts

Sat, Jul 28, 2012 : 5:27 p.m.

Hi JRW. We're still trying to track down a booking photo -- if there is one. While most people arrested and charged with crimes are processed through the Washtenaw County Jail (which regularly shares booking photos with us), this wasn't the case with Bertram. To my understanding, he was initially taken into custody by the FBI. If/when we can get our hands on a photo, we will update this story with it. Thanks for reading.


Sat, Jul 28, 2012 : 3:04 p.m.

While people may be predisposed to any of a variety of proclivities or behaviors, the fact of the matter is that they still bear individual responsibility for choosing to act. (Jerry Sandusky might be 'wired' the same way, but just be further down the proverbial road.) Let's not dismiss Mr. Bertram's culpability here: he has committed a crime, and he is responsible for his actions. Perhaps he is suitably chastised and will pursue rehabilitation, or perhaps he will offend again. But he does not get a free pass for his actions because he is just simply 'wired' a certain way.

Craig Lounsbury

Sat, Jul 28, 2012 : 5:55 p.m.

I cannot over emphasis that I was NOT NOT NOT giving him a free pass. Society needs to be protected from people who cannot control their impulses. That is why i say probation IMO was unacceptably weak.

Craig Lounsbury

Sat, Jul 28, 2012 : 5:51 p.m.

Please don't think I was giving him a free pass. Just the opposite. I think probation was too lite. I'd prefer 5 years in prison then parole for the rest of his life. I suggest given the "wiring" rehabilitation is unlikely, controlling the impulse is statistically unlikely.

Craig Lounsbury

Sat, Jul 28, 2012 : 2:26 p.m.

"I'm very sorry for what I did," Bertram said ...... "I went down the wrong road." Translation: "I'm very sorry I got caught wandering around that "road". If you'll only give me a second chance I'll try not to get caught again". People don't just go down that road. They are "wired" to go down that road. There doesn't seem to be a way to fix that wiring that I am aware of.


Sat, Jul 28, 2012 : 11:12 p.m.

More likely this is something his lawyer told him to say so it's on the record that he "showed remorse". People need to be more cynical about these staged and choreographed dog 'n pony shows that our courts feature any more.

Will Warner

Sat, Jul 28, 2012 : 8:59 p.m.

"I don't think its a conscious choice to be sexual attracted to children. Do you?" No. And for all we are told in this story he is making the effort--sincerely--to overcome these demons.

Craig Lounsbury

Sat, Jul 28, 2012 : 8:44 p.m.

" Is this another way of saying he was born that way?" I'm not sure. Either that or socialized in some fashion. I don't think its a conscious choice to be sexual attracted to children. Do you?

Will Warner

Sat, Jul 28, 2012 : 5:47 p.m.

1) You have no idea whether his apology was sincere. 2) You say he is "wired to go down that road," and imply in your next sentence that he is beyond hope. Is this another way of saying he was born that way? Is this another way of saying his sexual predilections are not a choice?