Former Boy Scout leader's molestation trial set for August

LAWRENCEVILLE -- A date has been set for the long-delayed trial of Harry Brett Taylor, the former Gwinnett Boy Scout leader and library board member accused of molesting as many as 17 young boys.

District Attorney Danny Porter confirmed Wednesday that Taylor's trial is scheduled to begin Aug. 6 in front of Gwinnett County Superior Court Judge William Ray. Ray is the sixth judge to be assigned to the four-year-old case.

Accusations against Taylor surfaced in 2008 when one boy told police the man had touched his genitals and photographed him after exiting a swimming pool at Taylor's home. At the time of his arrest, police believed Taylor -- a Boy Scout leader who was active in community groups like the library board and Leadership Gwinnett -- had had similar contact with another boy for more than two years.

In August 2008, seven more boys aged 6 to 9 came forward. By the time of Taylor's indictment two months later, the alleged victims tallied 17. Police believe molestation began as early as 1995.

A trial has been delayed for several years in part because of the inability to find a judge. Before Ray was appointed to the case in early April, five colleagues had recused themselves for various reasons. This year alone, Judge Karen Beyers (citing a possible perceived conflict of interest involving her staff attorney) and Judge Debra Turner (whose campaign chairman was Taylor's divorce attorney) have stepped down.

The process has been complicated because Taylor was so well-connected in the community, but Porter said Wednesday there was no reason to expect another recusal.