Oct 2009

Child porn vicar spared jail

A SHAMED Essex vicar who downloaded nearly 2,000 images of child pornography, including rape-themed pictures, faces eviction from the church.

A SHAMED Essex vicar who downloaded nearly 2,000 images of child pornography, including rape-themed pictures, faces eviction from the church.

Reverend Trevor Diaper’s fascination with child pornography bordered on an obsession and led him to download pictures of girls younger than eight years old being forced to have sex with adults.

Police also discovered video footage of a child being sexually abused.

The paedophile, who was the minister for St Peter’s Church in Bocking, near Braintree, was yesterday sentenced to a three-year community punishment and placed on a sex offenders’ programme for five years.

At Chelmsford Crown Court Judge Christopher Ball QC stressed that Diaper had avoided a prison sentence due to seven-and-a-half months spent in custody on seven indecent assault charges which he was formally cleared of yesterday.

Police arrested Diaper, who was 58 at the time, at his family home in June last year and also removed a computer.

During interview he confessed to downloading images of children from the internet for his own sexual gratification and copying the files to DVDs and CDs which were then encrypted which software in a bid to cover his tracks.

Two months later detectives removed two more hard drives along with CDs which included a “large number” of indecent images, said Andrew Jackson, prosecuting.

The court was told 64 of the images found were level-four – the most serious, 579 at level-two and 1,327 were at level-one, regarded as less severe in nature.

David Williams QC, mitigating, said his client had pleaded guilty to the offences and said a custodial sentence would “not help society, or help him”.

“He is going to live, when he has his freedom again, away from here in a different part of the country,” he said.

Judge Chris Ball QC, sentencing, told Diaper, said: “Like so many others, often of good character, you found yourself sucked into watching, downloading and saving these images for sexual gratification.

“It is appropriate in this case to deal with this matter by way of a sentence which will allow time to address what might be approaching an obsession, if not an exaggerated interest, in these sorts of images.”

Diaper pleaded guilty at an earlier hearing to six counts of making indecent photos of children and a seventh of possessing indecent images.

He was sentenced to a three-year community order, a supervision period of three years and placed on the Thames Valley programme, which specialises in treating paedophiles.

Speaking afterwards, Chris Newlands, chaplain to the Bishop of Chelmsford, said: “He must be subjected to disciplinary procedures of the Church and we will do what we can to ensure that they are followed as closely as we can.

“He will go through the Ecclesiastical system to ensure that someone who has done such a serious crime which he has pleaded guilty to, won’t be ministering in church again.”