April 2011

Asperger’s sufferer viewed child abuse images in public library

A MAN with Asperger’s syndrome who downloaded “revolting pornographic pictures” of children at Hayle Library has avoided an immediate prison sentence.

William Moreland, aged 22 and of Clifton Terrace, admitted 18 allegations involving the making and possessing of indecent images at Truro Crown Court on Friday.

He also admitted breaching a Sexual Offences Prevention Order imposed in February last year after he visited pornographic websites from a college library computer.

The court heard Moreland was caught when a member of staff responsible for monitoring internet access at Hayle Library alerted the police and Moreland’s home was searched. His laptop was seized and 1,000 images of extreme pornography were found, together with 159 at the lowest scale of seriousness, 202 at level two, 78 at level three and 61 at level four – one below the highest level. Many of them were of young boys.

When interviewed, Moreland said: “I can’t help myself. I was very good for a few months but I just started doing it again, I don’t know why.”

Paul Gallagher, for the defence, pointed out that Moreland suffered from Asperger’s syndrome and other problems.

He also said at the time of Moreland’s conviction last year an Internet Sex Offenders’ Programme had not begun, but he had since been doing extremely well on it.

Sentencing him, Mr Justice Butterfield said Moreland should continue on the programme in the hope that eventually he would resist his desire to access these “revolting pictures”.

He also said he was surprised that filters had not been installed on the public computers and asked prosecutor Philip Lee to request those responsible for libraries to install the devices.

Moreland was given a nine-month prison sentence, suspended for two years, with supervision throughout and a requirement to continue on the ISOP programme, and was ordered to sign the Sex Offenders’ Register for the next ten years.

Cornwall Council said its library service had an “acceptable use” policy in place to which all library computer users must agree before being allowed access to browse the internet. A spokesman said: “It is clearly stated in the policy that browsing websites of an adult or illegal nature is strictly prohibited.

“To protect users from inappropriate content and to assist in enforcing the acceptable use policy, Cornwall Council has a web content filtering product in place.

“While the filtering product is efficient it cannot guarantee that all websites of an adult or illegal nature are filtered.

“For this reason, and to ensure a safe environment for all library users, including children, the council’s Computer Audit team has a quarterly internet monitoring process in place to detect any internet browsing to websites of an adult or illegal nature.”

The spokesman added that this was the second case in 14 months where the monitoring process had detected a member of the public using a Cornwall library computer to access illegal content