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Friday, 19 September 2014

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Child porn addiction of Cumbrian church youth worker

A former church youth worker who was a secret internet child porn addict has been spared jail to “sort himself out”.

Lee Brown, 42, was working with Wigton’s Methodist Church while he carried out the crimes.

Carlisle Crown Court heard that police had gone to Brown’s then home, on Highfield Court, Wigton, on November 27 and seized several pieces of electronic equipment including a laptop and a hard disc drive.

On the devices, officers discovered 825 still pornographic images involving children, and 325 similar videos.

Of the still images, 125 fell into category A, the most serious kind of child pornography while 177 of the videos also fell into this class.

However, David Farley, prosecuting, told the court that many of the files had not been stored by Brown, who now lives in Keppelwray Drive, Barrow.

He said: “It seems the images were downloaded and then deleted but there is evidence that the images had been there.”

Mr Farley also said Brown had discussed child pornography in an online chat room and sent one of the films to another person.

Brown appeared in court having pleaded guilty to 19 charges of making indecent photographs of children, one charge of publishing an obscene article for the chat room message and to distributing an obscene movie by sending it over the internet.

Brian Williams, defending, said: “Lee Brown is 42 and a man of previously good character; a man who, never in his wildest dreams, thought he would end up in the crown court facing imprisonment.”

Mr Williams explained that Brown had worked with young people for 20 years, helping to turn many of their lives around, and was upset that he had to give up this vocation.

“He began to access pornographic images, became desensitised and moved on,” he said.

“He can’t explain any more than that; it became a compulsion, an obsession, an addiction.

“He wanted to get help as he knew it was wrong. He is a Christian, he worked in a church and he found it extremely difficult to go and speak to anyone.”

Me Williams added that Brown had found it “a relief” to be caught and was undergoing psychotherapy.

Both sides said there was no suggestion Brown had acted inappropriately through his work.

Judge Barbara Forrester, presiding, said: “It is always very sad when a man of your kind of age appears before the court for the first time, particularly for such a serious offence.”

She added: “It is very difficult to understand how you, during the daytime, could help children going through difficult times with their families, and then at night at home could look on the internet at films and images of children being treated in a most gross manner.”

Judge Forrester added that Brown was addressing his problems and she wanted him to continue treatment through the probation service. However, to make sure he completed this he would need an order that would last beyond the time she could suspend a prison sentence.

Brown was sentenced to a 36-month supervision order and ordered to undertake a treatment programme. He will be on the Sex Offenders’ Register for five years and subject to a prevention order for a decade.

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