back to article Pupils find teacher's abuse images

A teacher who let a class use his laptop was given a suspended sentence yesterday after kids found child sex abuse images in his recycling bin. Michael Humphreys, 32, of Didsbury, allowed members of his year 11 class to use his laptop to play chess. The cunning kids checked his deleted items and found a file called 'paedo girl …

COMMENTS

This topic is closed for new posts.

Page:

Bronze badge

"The children did not open the file"

Yeah right!

12
0
Anonymous Coward

What do we learn from this?

No good deed goes unpunished. The teacher was a prize idiot to lend the kids his computer. Indeed, teachers have learned the hard way that they must never get any closer to their "students" (i.e. pupils) than is absolutely essential. Stay behind after class to give some extra instruction? Man, you cannot be serious. Gently pull away two boys who have put a younger girl into a cupboard and won't let her out? Certainly not - that's a matter for the police. And letting them anywhere near your personal possessions or information? That's downright insane. Today's teachers, if they know what's good for them, treat their "students" the way Clarice Starling is advised to treat Hannibal Lecter in "The Silence of the Lambs". (Indeed, the article in today's Register "Stockholm schoolgirls fined for bugging staff room" shows that the "students" are somewhat ahead of Lecter in their use of technology).

12
8
WTF?

Um ...

Why were they playing chess during a lesson?

What were they supposed to do if they found child porn on the computer he'd lent them?

Pretend it wasn't there?

3
2
Anonymous Coward

Well I don't know what YOU learned...

So let me get this straight, your primary concern here is kids being nosey rather than, say, the child porn?

2
6
WTF?

WTF???

Man, the guy had CHILD PORNOGRAPHY ON HIS COMPUTER and you are saying the teacher should not have left the children with his computer.

how about learning the lesson: Don't lick the loli and don't download child pornography in the first place.

art project? errrr, yeah ok, whatever you say man, sure! those nude underage girls sure, it's just an art project.

what about the huge cache of images he has at home? still an art project???

the lesson to learn is NOT "don't get close to children" it's "stop downloading child pornography"

6
4
Anonymous Coward

Hmmm.

I think what we learn from this is that at least one Judge seems to have a reasonable grasp of proportionate response. It was not so long ago you'd have seen this guy facing a jail sentence measured in years. I doubt this sentence sets any new trend (too much to hope for, frankly) towards common sense in future cases of this nature, but it does at least seem a much fairer response than we have been used to seeing from the courts.

One assumes the police aren't too happy about this, if their past form and comment on such cases is anything to go by.

I suppose the Judge took into account the the fact the defendant has now lost his career, is undoubtedly a fully-signed up member of the Sex Offender's Register and will have to suffer social exclusion and joblessness for the rest of his days. Some might think that punishment enough.

There was never any suggestion - in this story at least - that the man was a 'hands-on' child abuser. In the end, this catastrophe centres around his picture collection and it is for that - and, it appears, for that alone - that he has reaped the whirlwind.

Here is what The Copine Scale, used by UK Police, measures as 'Level 1 child pornography':

"...Non-erotic and non-sexualised pictures showing children in their underwear, swimming costumes from either commercial sources or family albums. Pictures of children playing in normal settings, in which the context or organisation of pictures by the collector indicates inappropriateness..."

Funny old world, ain't it?

14
0
Boffin

Wrong Scale!

"Here is what The Copine Scale..."

That's not the scale used by the courts in the UK. See under Sexual Offences Act 2003 at: http://webarchive.nationalarchives.gov.uk/20100519200657/http://www.sentencing-guidelines.gov.uk/guidelines/council/final.html

See also:-

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Child_pornography#Typology

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Copine_scale#The_SAP_scale

3
0
Alert

Re: Hmmm

The Police do NOT use the COPINE Scale in the UK. UK Police forces use the Sentencing Advisory Panel (SAP) Levels 1 - 5. There is some correlation between the two, but a COPINE Scale Level 1 is, for want of a better word, less severe than a SAP Level 1.

SAP Level 1 is defined as "Images of erotic posing, with no sexual activity".

All of this is available from the CPS website:

http://www.cps.gov.uk/legal/h_to_k/indecent_photographs_of_children/

3
0
Anonymous Coward

proportionate response ?

You cannot be serious, for every image on his computer for `personal use' is a child being sexually abused. Matters not if he wasn't a 'hands-on' child abuser.

0
14
Thumb Down

@No good deed goes unpunished

The good deed of collecting sexualised images of children?

Anyone who knows you must marvel at your ability to leap for the wrong end of the stick.

Why would he be encouraging children to use his laptop?

Because he is such a fountain of good deeds?

Right.

2
0

re: proportionate response

Did you actually read the article, or any of the other comments, or are you just another Anonymous Wanker from the Daily Mail?

If you consider a photograph of a fully clothed child is a depiction of sexual abuse, then there is clearly something wrong inside your head.

13
0
Stop

What About Sexting?

For all we know, some of those images could have been cases of (very) mild sexting, and the like.

If a fifteen-year-old girl takes a photo of herself trying to strike a sexy pose while fully clothed, and then puts it up on the web for all to see, who's the abuser? Is the girl - the supposed victim - the abuser? Would you regard this as a crime of self-abuse? (What, then, of private masturbation? Is that self-abuse?) Or is anyone else who looks at that self-published image an abuser just by looking at what the girl herself published? (Either way, this is all sounding rather Talibanesque, to me.)

Bear in mind that SAP level 1 is based on COPINE levels 4, 5 and 6:-

"4 Posing

Deliberately posed pictures of children fully clothed, partially clothed or naked (where the amount, context and organisation suggests sexual interest).

5 Erotic Posing

Deliberately posed pictures of fully, partially clothed or naked children in sexualised or provocative poses.

6 Explicit Erotic Posing

Pictures emphasising genital areas, where the child is either naked, partially clothed or fully clothed."

3
0
Stop

Level 1 Images Not Always Illegal

It's important to emphasize that the SAP scale used for sentencing does not define which images are illegal to possess. Sentencing guidelines are used as an aid for determining sentences once someone's been convicted of possessing indecent images of children. The SAP scale does not define indecency, and may cover images that aren't indecent. "Images depicting erotic posing with no sexual activity", but which aren't actually indecent, are still legal to possess.

So, when it's reported that someone was found to have, say, 10,000 level 1 images in their possession, it doesn't mean they had 10,000 illegal, indecent images of children in their possession, or even that they had just one illegal image. It could simply be that they had 10,000, entirely legal images of teenage girls striking sexy poses for their myspace pages (if their poses are sexy enough to count as "Images depicting erotic posing with no sexual activity").

When we consider that SAP level 1 is based on COPINE levels 4, 5 and 6, it's even clearer how an image can be SAP level 1 without being indecent. Just look at COPINE level 4:-

"4 Posing

Deliberately posed pictures of children fully clothed, partially clothed or naked (where the amount, context and organisation suggests sexual interest)."

4
0
Alert

Wait!, what?

"... in which the context or organization of pictures by the collector indicates inappropriateness..."

Why does that sound like a Thought Crime?

2
0
Thumb Up

RE: Hmmm

Almost. The Copine scale is different, police normally use the five-level SAP scale, which would make level one "nudity or erotic posing without sexual activity". Still pretty mild. I bet most of the pictures wouldn't even be illegal in less paranoid countries. I don't understand how something like that can even be termed an "abuse image".

1
0
Megaphone

Title!

From a comment above;

"...Non-erotic and non-sexualised pictures showing children in their underwear, swimming costumes from either commercial sources or family albums. Pictures of children playing in normal settings, in which the context or organisation of pictures by the collector indicates inappropriateness..."

So no children were abused to create the images, in fact it sounds like none of the images were even "sexual" in any way other than how they had been organized, in someone elses opinion. Note the "... in which the context or organisation of pictures by the collector indicates inappropriateness...".

Sounds like the guy was collecting pictures of child models and organizing them in a way the judges thought was "inappropriate" but not involving abuse/sexual images.

So, what was the crime here again?

1
0
Anonymous Coward

Re: Wait!, what?

TimeMaster T:-

""... in which the context or organization of pictures by the collector indicates inappropriateness..."

Why does that sound like a Thought Crime?"

Because the COPINE scale is about paedophilia, which is psychological, rather than being a definition of criminal indecency and abuse.

According to Wikipedia: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Copine_scale

"The COPINE scale was originally developed for therapeutic psychological purposes. More specifically, it is used to distinguish between child erotica and child pornography. In an article by professor Max Taylor, one of the academics working for the COPINE project, it is stated that: "[t]he significance of this distinction is to emphasise the potential sexual qualities of a whole range of kinds of photographs (and other material as well) not all of which may meet obscenity criteria.""

It is a mistake to take the COPINE scale (and the SAP scale) as defining indecency of images, but it's a mistake that seems all too common these days. Legislation itself (such as the cartoon porn law) seems increasingly aimed at criminalising paedophilia itself, rather than just actual abuse of real children. Thought crime indeed.

1
0

The police are still investigating, right?

Or are they happy to have a conviction for possession of images so they can't be bothered finding out who produced them and stopping any possible abuse?

6
0

still investigating

No way I am going to check out what constitutes "lowest level 1 category" from here at work, but I have a sneaking suspision that you wont be seeing much abuse at that level. In fact the suspended sentence sort of confirms it.

2
0
Anonymous Coward

Well

Local papers says he downloaded them from torrent sites. Not sure how much mileage the police will get investigating that, but I'm sure unlimited resources are at their disposal to do so ...

0
0
Troll

Back logs

Probably, though they are class 1 which I think is the lowest (AFAIK that doesn't involve penetration or anything but don't quote me) so it's probably not extreme priority. There are not many people who work in that area though, as in looking over them, trying to find trends, familiar places, people etc so I would imagine they have mountains of work (I think where I live there is only a handful who do the really nasty stuff of watching and looking at this all day trying to catch people so it can't be easy)

0
0
Boffin

.. still investigating

Er.. "lowest, calss 1 category"... Collecting for an art project... 4 months out of a maximum of 3 year sentence...

You do realise this probably means they found his manga/anime collection, right?

There's not much to investigate when the auhors names are listed on the font of the book or on the DVD cover.

5
0

@Liam Johnson

That's kind of a corollary of what I am saying.

If the images don't involve any abuse -- then why are they illegal? If no child was harmed, then exactly what is the guy being punished for?

7
0
Paris Hilton

What abuse?

Point taken, but in this case there may not be any abuse to stop. If they were Level 1 pictures that means they don't show any sexual activity at all.

0
0

This post has been deleted by its author

This post has been deleted by its author

Anonymous Coward

If Anime / Manga, Would it not be classsed differently?

Would they not have to say he had been charged under the 2009 bill if he had only cartoons?. They should really say if it involves only drawings, so we can get angry....

0
0
Go

level 1

So what's a level 1 category image then? I'd search for it but I'd rather not get flagged by the work DNS.

2
1
Silver badge
Big Brother

These days-

Drawings of 18+ fully clothed in Burkas. With the word 'porn' next to it.

8
0
Anonymous Coward

Levels (courtesy of the Protection Of Children Act)

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Protection_of_Children_Act_1978

0
0

from wikipedia

from: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Child_pornography

"1 Indicative Non-erotic and non-sexualised pictures showing children in their underwear, swimming costumes from either commercial sources or family albums. Pictures of children playing in normal settings, in which the context or organisation of pictures by the collector indicates inappropriateness."

But the question still asks: why does he have 25,000 of them? I doubt they are from his family, I think thats what it means by "inappropriateness"

it means they aren't YOUR children, I can't imagine any law saying it's child porn that I have naked pictures of my own child in the bathtub, it would make practically every parent in the land a paedo

0
2
Flame

Re: practically every parent in the land a paedo

BINGO! You figured out the plan! Congratulations.

And now that every parent is reduced to living in fear that something in the family album will rip away their children, lose them their jobs, and make them a social criminal and pariah, the government now has all the tools it needs to take out anyone they "have an issue" with.

Done and dusted, as they say.

3
0
Flame

Re: Level 1

Doesn't make the CORBIS or Flickr collections liable, due to the "organization and amount"?

Oh, of course not... someone of better breeding is making money off of them, so its alright then.

1
0
Bronze badge

Level One

'Level one - Images of erotic posing, with no sexual activity'

2
0

And if you want to know the other four as well...

...just visit the Sentencing Guidelines Council website and look up the Magistrates' Court Sentencing Guidelines for Indecent Photographs of Children. No pictures or anything (naturally), just a nice short list explaining the five levels. There may well be other material on the UK Government, Ministry of Justice or HM Courts Service websites that explains further.

And yes, I do have a legitimate reason to know all that.

1
1
Silver badge

Images of erotic posing, with no sexual activity

So a music video by one of these teenage girl nonsense groups? Or indeed, many photos on Facebook.

10
0
FAIL

Entirely in keeping.

Indeed - and what counts as 'possession' here? If I view facebook any images are downloaded to my computer's cache (this being the way browsers work). Why do I get the impression the people who make our laws don't have any kind of clue how computers work?

What I particularly like about the sentencing guidelines for "Making and distributing indecent photographs of a child" is the following:

"A fine may be appropriate if: the offender was merely in possession of material ... downloaded from the internet but not further distributed"

In which case the individual would have neither made, nor distributed, the material. Why would a fine ever be "appropriate" in these circumstances? Is that not like saying "You're not guilty, but we're going to fine you anyway just because we can"? Well that wouldn't be entirely in keeping with the legal profession would it?

0
2
Boffin

"Making" Does Not Mean Making!

"In which case the individual would have neither made..."

WRONG!

The individual would have made the copy they're in possession of. That's how the law works.

Download an image from the internet, saving a copy to your hard disk, and you've just made that copy of the image. You have then committed the offence of making an indecent photograph or pseudo-photograph of a child. Photocopying an existing image is another example of "making".

So when you read, in the local rag or a national tabloid, of someone convicted for making indecent images of children, you now know that it was most probably simply that they were found to have local copies of images obtained from the internet. (Did you think it meant actually taking the original photos?)

2
0
Anonymous Coward

Did you think it meant actually taking the original photos?

No.

In my stupidity I thought the law might have actually given some thought to what the word 'making' means and used that meaning when 'making' the law.

Or did they just download the law from somewhere else?

0
0
Happy

The cunning kids checked his deleted items

Ideally suited for jobs with Tech Guys then.

0
0
Anonymous Coward

@Tom Welsh

The man is a paedo. This is not a case of him being unfairly punished for trying to protect a young girl, two kids fighting or whatever other bullshit daily mailesque examples you want to spout , this is simply a case of a paedo being charged with being a paedo, pleading guilty to being a paedo and being [IMHO very leniently] punished for being a paedo.

1
20
Anonymous Coward

Erm...

There is NO law in the UK prohibiting paedophilia merely as a sexual orientation. If I'm wrong, please point me to the relevant legislation and I'll stand corrected.

If you mean by 'punished for being a paedo' that he is actually guilty of sexually abusing a child, I didn't read that bit in the story - in fact, I didn't see it at all.

I don't think the Judge did either.

12
1

And

Having a folder on his laptop named paedo.girl. I take it that we all agree that that's stupid.

0
0
Flame

@Lee

You seem to have a problem with inter-generational sex.

Freud says those who deny something vehemently are merely repressing it.

You know what the upshot of that is, don't you, paedo?

Don't deny it.

(Probably best if you don't admit it either).

0
1
(Written by Reg staff)

Re: @Lee

Easy now.

0
0
Anonymous Coward

Research eh?

Isn't that more commonly known as the 'Townshend Defence'?

0
0
Anonymous Coward

Classification

Level 1: Images depicting erotic posing with no sexual activity

Level 1 being the lowest classification of 5.

3
0
Boffin

"level 1 category"

According to the Sentencing Guidelines Council's Sexual Offences Act 2003 Definitive Guideline, which can be found via: http://webarchive.nationalarchives.gov.uk/20100519200657/http://www.sentencing-guidelines.gov.uk/guidelines/council/final.html

"The levels of seriousness (in ascending order) for sentencing for offences

involving pornographic images are:

Level 1

Images depicting erotic posing with no sexual activity

Level 2

Non-penetrative sexual activity between children, or solo masturbation by a child

Level 3

Non-penetrative sexual activity between adults and children

Level 4

Penetrative sexual activity involving a child or children, or both children and adults

Level 5

Sadism or penetration of, or by, an animal

Offences involving any form of sexual penetration of the vagina or anus, or penile penetration of the mouth (except where they involve sadism or intercourse with an animal, which fall within level 5), should be classified as activity at level 4."

According to Wikipedia: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Child_pornography#Typology

"In 2002 in the UK, the Sentencing Advisory Panel adapted the COPINE scale to five levels and recommended its adoption for sentencing guidelines, omitting levels 1 to 3 and recommending that levels 4 to 6 combine as sentencing level 1 and that the four levels from 7 to 10 each form an individual severity level, for a total of 5 sentencing stages."

"The COPINE Scale

1 Indicative

Non-erotic and non-sexualised pictures showing children in their underwear, swimming costumes from either commercial sources or family albums. Pictures of children playing in normal settings, in which the context or organisation of pictures by the collector indicates inappropriateness.

2 Nudist

Pictures of naked or semi-naked children in appropriate nudist settings, and from legitimate sources.

3 Erotica

Surreptitiously taken photographs of children in play areas or other safe environments showing either underwear or varying degrees of nakedness.

4 Posing

Deliberately posed pictures of children fully clothed, partially clothed or naked (where the amount, context and organisation suggests sexual interest).

5 Erotic Posing

Deliberately posed pictures of fully, partially clothed or naked children in sexualised or provocative poses.

6 Explicit Erotic Posing

Pictures emphasising genital areas, where the child is either naked, partially clothed or fully clothed.

7 Explicit Sexual Activity

Pictures that depict touching, mutual and self-masturbation, oral sex and intercourse by a child, not involving an adult.

8 Assault

Pictures of children being subject to a sexual assault, involving digital touching, involving an adult.

9 Gross Assault

Grossly obscene pictures of sexual assault, involving penetrative sex, masturbation or oral sex, involving an adult.

10 Sadistic/Bestiality

a. Pictures showing a child being tied, bound, beaten, whipped or otherwise subject to something that implies pain.

b. Pictures where an animal is involved in some form of sexual behaviour with a child."

3
0
Anonymous Coward

Sheesh

The cover of Nirvana's Nevermind must be Level 2!

0
0
Anonymous Coward

So the kids said

"Sir, can we play with the pawn on your laptop?"

etc..

1
0

Page:

This topic is closed for new posts.

Forums