Child porn teacher escapes being sent to jail

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By Kevin Duguid

 

Colin Chisholm received a community payback order after being convicted of downloading child pornography

A PRIMARY school teacher who downloaded indecent images of children being abused by adults has escaped jail.

Colin Chisholm taught at four different schools during his career and was a scout leader for nine years, it was heard at Edinburgh Sheriff Court.

And he was teaching P1 to P3 classes when he was caught with images of  children as young as six.

But the 28-year-old, who he admitted to police that he was “sexually attracted” to children, managed to avoid a jail sentence today (Tue).

Instead he was given a three year community payback order. The former teacher will be on the sex offenders register during the same period.

Sheriff Isabella McColl said the sentence was a more “constructive” one than custody. But she added: “I will be notifying Scottish Ministers for you to be included in the list of unsuitable persons to work with children.”

Chisholm’s defence agent Mark Harrower said: “The position is that he had these three images for eight days. This is at the lower end of the scale and his case should be dealt with by the alternative to custody.”

Mr Harrower said Chisholm had now “lost his career”.

“He qualified in 2007 following a four year degree and worked at four different schools. He was popular with staff and pupils,” he said.

Mr Harrower said there was “never any suggestion” he acted improperly towards pupils or staff. “Mr Chisholm was a lawful member of society. He was a scout leader for nine years.”

Indecent images

The defence agent added that Chisholm had secured another job working as a data processor after he resigned from St Cuthberts School. But when the revelation emerged about his crime he lost that job.

“The shame for him has been very public. In recent weeks he has lost a number of friends.”

Chisholm appeared at the same court last month when he admitted to being sexually attracted to children.

He also admitted to possessing indecent images and three moving pictures of children as young as six on his computer in his Edinburgh flat.

The offences took place in spring of this year, less than a year after he took up his post at St Cuthbert’s RC school.

Fiscal depute Dev Kapadia told the previous hearing that one of the videos was 50 seconds long, while another was just over five minutes long.

The children were aged between six and 12.

Admitted

One video contained footage of sexual activity between children and adults, the court heard.

Mr Kapadia told the court: “Chisholm admitted straight away that he had downloaded indecent images of children.

“He indicated that he was sexually attracted to children, but absolutely denied any involvement in physical matters,” he added.

Prior to his conviction, the controversial teacher wrote a children’s guidebook to Edinburgh in 2008, which he researched with children.

The guidebook, Edinburgh Unlocked, is a guide to the city for children and was researched with help from youngsters at his former primary school and a Cub Scout pack.

The book, published by Factfinders in 2010, is set to be taken off the shelves from all of its major distributors in light of Chisholm’s conviction.

Emily Kerr, a director of the firm, said following the case: “We hired Colin, then a teacher, to research our Edinburgh guide in 2009.

“Colin is no longer involved with our company. Given his conviction, we are reviewing the situation with respect to selling our Edinburgh guide.”

 

 

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