September 2003

University lecturer ‘had child porn’

A Japanese university lecturer has been placed on the sex offenders’ register after more than 1,500 pornographic images of children were found on his computer.

Iasao Yasahura, 42, pleaded guilty at an earlier hearing after officers discovered the pictures.

He left his post at Newcastle University in the wake of the Operation Ore investigation.

Yasahura, of Bayswater Road, Jesmond, Newcastle, was handed a three-year community rehabilitation order at Newcastle Crown Court on Thursday.

‘Artistic images’

Details about the married father-of-two were found on a database by investigators in the US and, as a result, police raided his home in October 2002.

The images showing children were found among a total of more than 16,000 pornographic images stored on his home computer.

Caroline Goodwin, prosecuting, told the court Yasahura kept the images in an “extremely organised” series of different folders with indecent images of children under the heading “special”.

The court heard he told police officers he was shocked that in this country some of the images may have been illegal and insisted that he believed them in fact to be artistic images.

But Judge Beatrice Bolton said: “I don’t accept for a moment that this is the result of Mr Yasahura’s interest in the artistic development or otherwise of young children.

“I am well aware of the Japanese culture and this doesn’t conform to my understanding of that.”

Marriage split

Robert Adams, defending, said: “He had been a university lecturer, a clever man, a very well-respected man.

“As a result of these pleas, the university felt their position was untenable on the basis that he had brought the university into disrepute.”

The court heard Yasahura had now been living apart from his wife for a year as a result of the charges and had only limited and heavily-supervised contact with his children.

Sentencing him, Judge Bolton said he was not devious at all but had entrenched views about what kind of images were acceptable with which most right-thinking people would disagree.

Yasahura was placed on the sex offenders’ register for five years and ordered to pay costs of £722.