KING WILLIAM — A former Boy Scout leader was given probation time in King William Circuit Court Wednesday for embezzling more than $4,000 from his troop over a three-year period.
Judge Thomas B. Hoover suspended a five-year prison sentence for Robert S. Bliley, 41, of King William, and ordered him to serve 20 years probation.
Bliley was charged in February of 2013 after authorities were contacted in July 2012 by the officers of Boy Scouts of America Pack 360.
According to Commonwealth's Attorney Matthew Kite, Bliley pleaded "no contest" to the felony embezzlement charge on March 12.
Kite said the evidence presented in court showed that from 2008 until 2011 Bliley embezzled $4,939 using the Boy Scout credit/debit card to make 12 ATM withdrawals and the Boy Scout PayPal account to make a purchase over the Internet.
"This is a felony, not just because of the money involved, but because of the trust violated," said Commonwealth's Attorney Matthew Kite. "He's gone against the oath of the Boy Scouts."
Defense Attorney Joseph Caprio urged the court to consider Bliley's "good qualities."
"He's always willing to volunteer, he's spent $6,000 of his own money on the Scouts, and he's never been in trouble before," Caprio said. "He did a stupid, illegal thing....but, you have to look at the whole person. He's a good, outstanding human being. He's made a terrible mistake and he's suffered."
A fellow Scoutmaster also took the stand on Bliley's behalf and testified that he was one of the troop's "hardest working leaders."
The mission of the Boy Scouts of America is to "prepare young people to make ethical and moral choices over their lifetimes."
"Scoutmasters are there to teach good character to young children, and that's what's particularly troubling" about this case, Judge Hoover said.
Bliley showed remorse for his actions prior to being sentenced.
"I'm sorry. I want to apologize to my family, Pack 360, and the Scouting community," he said. "I made a mistake.
Lawson can be reached at 804-843-2284