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 …

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  1. handle

    "The children did not open the file"

    Yeah right!

  2. Cameron Colley

    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?

  3. Anonymous Coward
    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).

    1. Liam Johnson

      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.

      1. Cameron Colley

        @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?

    2. Anonymous Coward
      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. Anonymous Coward
      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)

    4. Martijn Bakker
      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. Anonymous Coward
      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 ...

    6. Anonymous Coward
      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?

      1. This post has been deleted by its author

      2. This post has been deleted by its author

      3. Anonymous Coward
        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....

    7. Anonymous Coward
      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?

    8. Chris Thomas Alpha
      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"

      1. Anonymous Coward
        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

        1. Anonymous Coward
          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)."

      2. Anonymous Coward
        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. Anonymous Coward
        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.

        1. Woodgar

          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.

        2. Anonymous Coward
          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. TimeMaster T
          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?

      4. TimeMaster T
        Alert

        Wait!, what?

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

        Why does that sound like a Thought Crime?

        1. Anonymous Coward
          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.

      5. Anonymous Coward
        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".

    9. Anonymous Coward
      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.

    10. Anonymous Coward
      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.

  4. Thomas 18
    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.

    1. hplasm Silver badge
      Big Brother

      These days-

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

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Levels (courtesy of the Protection Of Children Act)

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

    3. Chris Thomas Alpha

      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

      1. I didn't do IT.
        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.

    4. I didn't do IT.
      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.

  5. Titus Technophobe

    Level One

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

    1. adrianww

      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.

    2. DavCrav 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.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        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?

        1. Anonymous Coward
          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?)

          1. Anonymous Coward
            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?

  6. Anonymous John
    Happy

    The cunning kids checked his deleted items

    Ideally suited for jobs with Tech Guys then.

  7. Anonymous Coward
    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. Anonymous Coward
      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.

    2. Anonymous John

      And

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

    3. Anonymous Coward
      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).

      1. Sarah Bee (Written by Reg staff)

        Re: @Lee

        Easy now.

  8. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Classification

    Level 1: Images depicting erotic posing with no sexual activity

    Level 1 being the lowest classification of 5.

  9. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Research eh?

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

  10. Anonymous Coward
    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."

  11. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Sheesh

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

  12. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    So the kids said

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

    etc..

  13. Aristotles slow and dimwitted horse Silver badge

    @ Lee

    It gives me great relief that there are people far more intelligent than you responsible for lawmaking and enforcement in this country.

    I couldn't find an icon for "dickhead" so you'll just have to imagine one for yourself.

  14. JaitcH
    Go

    Better to amuse himself with pictures than the real goods

    Sorry, the fact that someone has pictures doesn't make him a practitioner.

    Many teenagers, of both sexes, view pictures that might be disturbing but it doesn't meant they will go our and ravish someone of the opposite sex in a similar way.

    I remember at a public school in Wiltshire they conducted sex education lessons between the last examination of the summer term and departure for summer holidays. No teachers were allowed to be present and the person conducting the various 'grades' of education - attendance determined by age - held nothing, and I mean nothing, back.

    Over the years I have recalled this part of the curriculum and realised how fortunate we were to have been taught about the various aspects rather than going out and experimenting on our own.

    Personally, I am of the opinion that it is far better that people of such inclinations satisfy their needs from a computer graphic display than from real practice.

    I teach teenagers English (as a second) language and some of them are really beautiful and, dare I say it, which cause improper thoughts on occasion. It doesn't mean I am either tempted or would even succumb to my temptations - and these children are perfectly safe, from me.

    Likewise with this unfortunate teacher - has he ever touched a student or a minor under the age of majority?

  15. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    @Lee - Some sanity please

    Can we refrain from calling people paedophiles when they are not hoarding images of prepubescent children? Because they aren't paedophiles when they are looking at images of children past puberty.

    I understand that UK law describes "Child Pornography" as anyone under 18, but seriously the word paedophile has been over-used and often incorrectly.

    It clearly states in the article that the man was collecting images of teenagers. That does not make him a paedophile.

  16. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    CCTV of teenagers under 16 having sex in a car park

    Does this constitute CP? If so the bill could have a field day....

  17. Anonymous Coward
    Thumb Down

    Privacy advocate != Paedo supporter

    Lot of comments here seems to be non-objective.. in the sense instead of analyzing this case in isolation, they are carrying the excess baggage of privacy invasion rules and fighting those rules even if it means they have to support a pedophile.

    If you really think about it, if there were no crazy paedos like this teacher [who incidentally is surrounded by kids]; crazy lawmakers would never have felt the need to create to crazy anti-porn laws.

    I am anti-paedo and anti-dumbass-porn-laws at the same time. What about you ?

  18. asiaseen

    Mail order catalogues

    have to go into the shredder then for safety.

  19. David Pollard

    Premature pubescence

    Part of the reason behind the increasingly severe pornography laws is the fall in the age at which girls begin to mature. It is indeed quite alarming. "Many girls now begin puberty at age 7 or 8."

    http://www.businessweek.com/lifestyle/content/healthday/641926.html?campaign_id=rss_topStories

    http://www.livescience.com/health/early-onset-puberty-girls-breast-cancer-100809.html

    Whether this is due to obesity, endocrine disruptors, psychological pressures or whatever, it must be causing panic amongst the righteous. After all, someone must be to blame. And sterner laws, they believe mistakenly, will provide a remedy.

  20. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    But, but..

    "Child sex" = bad, thus "child sex ABUSE" is a double negative and thus good? I'm all confused now.

    /pedantic

    1. Sarah Bee (Written by Reg staff)

      Re: But, but..

      sigh

  21. TkH11

    harm

    The argument that's nearly always used is that downloading the pics causes the abuse to take place, it creates a market.

    In this case, (and I'm sure many of these types of cases) such an argument is invalid.

    No abuse took place: there was no victim.

    So are we punishing people because they've caused harm?

  22. Bernard M. Orwell
    Joke

    Wait...!

    Won't someone think of the Children?!

    Oh wait....

    ....he was, wasn't he? Maybe a bit TOO much.

  23. Vladimir Plouzhnikov

    From what I can see

    It appears that each of these images found on the teacher's computer could well be legal but somehow, because there were 25,000 of them the CPS and the judge decided that the teacher thought certain thoughts while looking at them.

    If that is not a prosecution of a thought crime then I don't know what is.

    I always thought that if each of the pictures is legal in its own right then even if you have millions of them they should still be legal. I was wrong obviously.

    I am becoming seriously worried about children safety in this country now. If every paedophile out there will feel that looking at even legal pictures of children (or drawings, cartoons etc) presents the same risk to him as actually abusing children they will all be on the streets, going for the real thing, instead of wanking away in front of their PCs.

    The responsibility for this will be with the moral vigilantes among the police, lawmakers and media.

  24. This post has been deleted by its author

  25. Anonymous Coward
    Alert

    Balanced?

    Problem with this is that the mail has sensationalised this and made a mountain out of a mole hill - the editor has the tabloid reflex.

    However, it reports:

    "The vast majority of the material was at level 1 - the least serious category - but a handful showed girls as young as six performing sex acts."

    and the reg says:

    "His defence told the court he had begun looking for teenage models for an art project before collecting images for "personal use".

    The teacher pleaded guilty..."

    If this was just a few thousand pics of kids (cat 1), he'd not have pleaded guilty. He probably fessed up because of the "...but a handful showed girls as young as six performing sex acts."

    Every crime has a first step. Had he taken that step, who knows?

    He had the makings of a peodo, therefore he got what he deserved.

    1. Ari 1
      Thumb Down

      that goes against all research

      Research strongly suggests a negative correlation between sex crimes (rape, child abuse etc) and porn.

      That is, where porn is available, these crimes are fewer. Of course, as many areas where porn is banned are also not known for the excellence of their legal systems we might have problems sampling advanced data, but one of the studies used states in the US where laws were changed, tracking the before and after statistics.

      That particular study is:

      Diamond, M. (2009) Pornography, public acceptance and sex related crime: A review

      International Journal of Law and Psychiatry

      So, as long as he had not shown any tendencies towards actually abusing children he was probably safer where he was. Now the man has almost nothing to lose, no job prospects and such. He's probably WAY more dangerous BECAUSE of the measures taken by the state.

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Thought Crime, Pre-Crime, Prejudice

      "Every crime has a first step. Had he taken that step, who knows?

      He had the makings of a peodo, therefore he got what he deserved."

      While in this case, he was, indeed, in possession of abusive images, and had crossed that line, the end of your comment sounds similar to a dangerous attitude that seems increasingly prevalent these days.

      When it comes to paedophilia and sexual abuse of children, there is an increasing move towards pre-emptive criminalisation. The so-called cartoon porn law, Section 62 of the Coroners and Justice Act 2009, is probably the clearest example yet.

      Rather than criminalising people for what they've done or are setting about doing, we are increasingly criminalising people for what they might yet do. It's not even a case of criminalising people for what they're certainly going to do, but just for what other people believe they might do in the future.

      Sometimes it is necessary to put up pre-emptive barriers, such as with drink-driving, where we criminalise people not for harm they're certainly going to do, but because of the risk they've chosen to make of themselves to other people. But there is always a need to justify such pre-emptive criminalisation: at the very least, it must be necessary, proportionate, and sufficiently clear for people to know how to avoid breaking such a law without being unduly inconvenienced. There must surely be a demonstrable, causal link between what it is that's being pre-emptively criminalised, and the related harm that such pre-emptive criminalisation is supposed to prevent.

      In the case of pre-emptive criminalisation of paedophiles and ephebophiles, where paedophilia and ephebophilia are increasingly criminalised by criminalising harmless symptoms (such as possession of mere drawings), we are increasingly, pre-emptively criminalising people on the basis of desire. That's thoroughly in the realms of thought crime.

      The first problem with this is that freedom of thought is - and absolutely must be - an absolute, unlimited right. Thought itself, including desire, should never be criminalised, whether directly or by proxy. We don't criminalise a wish to kill, a wish to steal, a wish to destroy, and we shouldn't be criminalising the wish to abuse - no matter how disgusting, how abhorrent, that wish might be to most of us.

      The second problem is that paedophiles simply don't choose to be paedophiles, any more than heterosexuals choose to be heterosexual. (How many straight men could successfully choose to be gay instead? (Without already being bisexual, of course.)) Criminalising paedophilia, even indirectly, is criminalising someone for something about them that they never actually chose. It's totally unjust, just as criminalising someone for having naturally blue eyes would be unjust (even though having naturally blue eyes promotes Nazism (I'm joking!)).

      The third problem is that proponents of such pre-emptive criminalisation seem to have difficulty demonstrating the efficacy of such laws. While it is claimed that potential abusers "feed" their early desires by using otherwise harmless material (such as non-indecent, non-abusive images of children), where "one thing leads to another", such claims seem to lack credible, supporting evidence that doesn't amount to abusers simply trying to put the blame elsewhere (such as by blaming pictures, and even blaming children themselves).

      We shouldn't be criminalising paedophiles for being paedophiles. We should return back to the original purpose of such legislation, which was to protect real children from real abuse. We shouldn't be trying to pre-empt harm by criminalising thoughts. The ends do not justify such Orwellian means. And we shouldn't be pre-emptively criminalising people just because of what we think they they might possibly do in the future. We should only pre-emptively criminalise when it's necessary, proportionate, and of demonstrable efficacy.

      So, while in this case he had indeed crossed the line by possessing abusive images, I do disagree with your final line, because of how it applies, prejudicially, to those who haven't crossed the line, and may well never cross the line.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Ah really???

        "The second problem is that paedophiles simply don't choose to be paedophiles, any more than heterosexuals choose to be heterosexual. (How many straight men could successfully choose to be gay instead? (Without already being bisexual, of course.)) Criminalising paedophilia, even indirectly, is criminalising someone for something about them that they never actually chose. It's totally unjust, just as criminalising someone for having naturally blue eyes would be unjust (even though having naturally blue eyes promotes Nazism (I'm joking!))"

        No sir. NO.

        While the jury is still out on "preference"; the actions are certainly in your control.

        If your natural predisposition is to hurt others, others will hurt you back.

        That's what the law is doing.

        Defend privacy, not pedoz.

        1. Bryce 2

          Yes really...

          Exactly what has this guy done OTHER than possess photos? Has he abused children? No. Has he hurt anyone? No.

          Until he crosses the line and actually DOES abuse someone or hurt someone, then he has not committed any ACTIONS that require punishment.

          Punishing him for something he MIGHT do, is what is wrong. You should punish him for something he's DONE, not what he MIGHT do.

          I believe that is what the poster above you is trying to say.

        2. Anonymous Coward
          Stop

          Re: Ah really???

          "No sir. NO.

          While the jury is still out on "preference"; the actions are certainly in your control."

          I said, "The second problem is that paedophiles simply don't choose to be paedophiles, any more than heterosexuals choose to be heterosexual."

          Paedophilia is the sexual preference for prepubescent children. Even though you clearly do know the difference between preference and actions, you're disagreeing with what I wrote about preference, on the basis of actions. You seem to be willfully conflating chosen action with unchosen preference. And no, I don't agree the "jury is still out on "preference"". Who, given a choice, would actually want to be a paedophile, given how despised they are?

          Yes, actions are indeed a matter of choice, but that doesn't mean that paedophiles actually choose to have the preferences they have. Just because a gay man gets to choose whether or not to have consensual sex with another, consenting man, it doesn't mean he therefore gets to choose whether or not to be gay in the first place. Being gay is not a "lifestyle choice". Likewise, just because child abusers choose to abuse, it doesn't mean that paedophiles choose to be paedophiles. Don't forget: there are paedophiles who choose not to abuse!

          "If your natural predisposition is to hurt others, others will hurt you back.

          That's what the law is doing.

          Defend privacy, not pedoz."

          So, even if a paedophile refuses to abuse, it's okay for the law to "hurt them back"? Not because of what they're going to do - since they refuse to abuse - but because of their unchosen preference?

          Sounds like bigotry, to me.

          To get an idea of the real damage that kind of bigotry does, you might like to read the following item about a 15 year old boy, driven to the brink of suicide, by paedophilia:-

          http://randomreality.blogware.com/blog/_archives/2004/10/20/163041.html

          "Victims

          Imagine, if you will, getting sent to a job where a 15 year old boy is threatening suicide. You turn up at the address and discover that it is a care home. Meeting with one of his carers she hands you a list of the boy's medications and it reads like a 'Who's who' of psychiatric drugs. You talk to the boy, and he seems calm, collected and very polite. He explains that he wants to jump out of a window and kill himself, and agrees that he would like to go to hospital. You take him into the paediatric department of a local hospital. As this does not feel like the normal "Teenager wants to kill themselves" you have a chat with the children's nurse and you ask them to let you know what happens to the patient. You leave, and continue with your shift. The next day you ask the children's nurse about the patient and she tells you - "The boy wanted to die because he wants to have sex with, and kill small children - and that he knows that it is wrong".

          I hate paedophiles as much as any other member of society - but in front of me that day, I saw a victim."

          Who's the real monster? The paedophile who refuses to abuse, or those who drive them to suicide?

          1. Sarah Bee (Written by Reg staff)

            Re: Re: Ah really???

            'Preference' as in 'orientation'. Neutral. This is a little like the semantice argument over 'the theory of evolution'.

            1. Sarah Bee (Written by Reg staff)

              Re: Re: Re: Ah really???

              Yes, that was a typo. I'm kind of like the stopped clock that is right twice a day, except the other way around.

      2. Anonymous Coward
        WTF?

        Thought Crime, Pre-Crime, Prejudice - reply

        Bloody hell, you don't half waffle.

        I agree that everyone is entitled to have private thoughts, however in this case, this teacher choose to act on those thoughts. He did not accidently download this material, he addmitted that this material was for "personal" use and he pleaded guilty. He got what he deserved.

        Now to the red-herring in you argument - homosexuality, hetrosexuality and paedophilia. As you point out, you can not tell anyone what to think and I gather the gist of your argument is that society trys to (and I agree that this is the case). The difference however with homosexuality/hetrosexuality and paedophilia is consent. When a paedophile views pictures (this is the move from mere thought to action) of children engaging in sexual acts, they are contributing to the industry of abusing kids - they are creating the market. "The second problem is that paedophiles simply don't choose to be paedophiles,..." - the children who are in these pictures (of abuse) do not choose to be abused.

        The crossing line bit. Well the line is where ever you want it to be. You'll have the black and white thinkers (prejudicial?) i.e. right and wrong and then there are those who can see the greys. When it comes to children, I think you'll find people tend to side with the black and white crew. When people hear of individuals viewing pictures of child abuse, they might view this as contributing to the the problem and they want to see them punished.

  26. Anonymous Coward
    Joke

    Child P0rn from torrents sites, a good thing?

    This is tougue in cheek before the flaming starts....

    'He had used special 'torrent searches' to automatically trawl the internet for the material, the court heard.'

    Since dowloads of music and movies from torrents sites are killing off those industries (according to the them). Then by the same logic, ped0monsters getting child pr0n from torrents sites, rather than paying for it are, are killing off the child abuse industry. What a hero this guy is....

    Amonymous? you bet....

  27. Anonymous Coward
    Grenade

    Interesting... (AC obviously)

    Does anyone else find it odd that so many 'IT professionals' have such an extensive knowledge of what is and what is not classified as porn, child or other. I have noticed over the years that articles of a sexual nature generally generate more comments (articles about anything from Mr Jobs and Co. excluded of course). I doubt that many posters work in the field of crime enforcement or the judiciary so tell me boys and girls, why are some of you very knowledgable about what you can safely have on your computer which although potentially pornographic, is in fact safe to the point that you can spout verbatim, what is and what is not defined as child porn...!!!!

    Just on a point about the story in question, the title of the file could have born no relation to the content of the file, we should all be aware of unhiding the file extension for known extensions and no doubt, we have all seen filename.ppt.exe along our travels. Also, it is not IMHO beyond the realms of reality for a student to have had suspiscions about this teacher and planted the file to lead to a police investigation. Obviously, either way, he was clearly a naughty teacher and deserves his punishment but I just wanted to make a few points.

    Please don't waste my time or yours flaming for the sake of flaming, it is generally accepted that the more homophobic you are, the more uncomfortable you are about your own sexuality and your attraction to the same sex so anyone flaming for the sake of it, please consider this thought...

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Big Brother

      Hitler and Niemöller

      "I doubt that many posters work in the field of crime enforcement or the judiciary so tell me boys and girls, why are some of you very knowledgable about what you can safely have on your computer which although potentially pornographic, is in fact safe to the point that you can spout verbatim, what is and what is not defined as child porn...!!!!"

      For me, it's a combination of Hitler and Pastor Niemöller:-

      "The state must declare the child to be the most precious treasure of the people." - Adolf Hitler.

      "As long as government is perceived as working for the benefit of children, the people happily will endure almost any curtailment of liberty." - Rabbi Daniel Lapin, remarking on that Hitler quote.

      "First they came..." - Pastor Martin Niemöller: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/First_they_came...

      If you look at the important, fundamental principles that are sacrificed in the name of protecting children from paedophiles (and similarly when it comes to extreme porn), you see just what an important point Rabbi Daniel Lapin has. And it's not just legislation such as Section 62 of the Coroners and Justice Act 2009 that is cause for concern, it's also stuff like the Vetting and Barring Scheme with the Independent Safeguarding Authority, and other Orwellian Big Brother stuff.

      Pastor Niemöller comes into it because, if I'm not prepared to speak out (anonymously, of course), who else can I expect to speak about against what's been happening? That's why I've bothered to read legislation that doesn't seem to directly affect me.

      We haven't got to the point of sweeping purges - yet - but learning from history, it looks like we've already been heading down that kind of road. Perhaps we still are. Big Brother databases were already being set up (didn't IBM provide useful hardware to Nazi Germany?); the Vetting and Barring Scheme was being established; control orders were being imposed on terrorist suspects - not convicted, and with the "evidence" kept secret, even from their own lawyers; children were (still are?) being locked up in detention centres as illegal immigrants; fast-track deportation of allegedly bogus asylum seekers, with swift raids to deny them time to even seek legal advice and possibly appeal; the political use of fear of terrorism as an excuse to salami-slice our rights and freedoms away; protesters branded and databased as "domestic extremists" by ACPO...

      I have no wish to draw dirty drawings of children. But if I can commit a sex crime, just by drawing the wrong kind of picture, in private, then it's obvious: I do not live in a free country.

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