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Saturday, 25 October 2014

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Barrow youth worker who became child porn addict spared jail

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

Lee Brown, 42, from Barrow, was working at a Methodist church while he carried out the crimes.

Carlisle Crown Court heard yesterday that police had gone to Brown’s then-home, in 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 which has replaced the old 1,2,3,4,5, 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 Kepplewray Drive.

He 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 years old 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 said: “He began to access pornographic images, became de-sensitised and moved on.

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

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

Judge Barbara Forrester, presiding, said: “ 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.

He was also ordered to pay a £60 victim surcharge.

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