The deputy head teacher of a north east school has escaped a jail sentence after admitting he had thousands of computer pictures of child pornography.
The career of William Fraser, 53, who taught at Portlethen Academy in Aberdeenshire, is now in tatters.
Fraser admitted charges of possessing more than 3,000 indecent images, some featuring children as young as five.
He was given two years’ probation and 140 hours’ community service and was placed on the sex offenders’ register.
Aberdeen Sheriff Court heard a number of international law enforcement agencies launched an operation in 2003 to combat child pornography on the internet.
An FBI investigation found that Fraser’s credit card had been used to subscribe to a Belarus-based site.
Fraser quickly admitted he had indecent computer images of boys after police with a search warrant took him to his home in Culter from the school, where he was deputy rector and principal guidance teacher.
Lynne Bentley, defending, told the court his life had been “devastated” as a result of his offences – both personally and professionally.
She said: “He is a man of shame and full of remorse. He regrets what has taken place. “It has been disastrous consequently on his future career, bearing in mind he spent 30 years in professional service in this career.”
Ms Bentley added: “His private life which involved these offences and his professional life have always been kept distinctly separate.”
Fraser, a first-time offender, was told by Sheriff Alexander Jessop: “You accept that committing these offences has had a truly disastrous effect on your career and your personal life.”
The sheriff noted the paedophile porn was at the “lower end” of the scale.
But a spokesman for the children’s charity NCH Scotland said: “NCH has been campaigning for a review of sentencing guidelines in child pornography cases.