A pervert who claimed he suffered sexual abuse as a child at the hands of Catholic priests and others has avoided a jail sentence for downloading disgusting images of children.
Thomas Hansen was at home with his wife and children when police seized his computer, Maidstone Crown Court heard.
Prosecutor Iestyn Morgan said more than 1,600 pictures as well as “live” and deleted movies showing child sex abuse were found, some at the next to highest level of four.
The 43-year-old car salesman, of Westborough Mews, Maidstone, admitted possessing indecent photos of children.
Kieran Brand, defending, said the offences were clearly linked to sexual abuse Hansen suffered as a child – first by a neighbour and then as a teenager by “priests and other males in the Catholic Church in Australia”.
“It is perhaps surprising that at the age of 43 he has led a relatively normal life,” said Mr Brand. “He appears not to have come to terms with his abuse. What is clear is there appears to be no sexual gratification from the material.”
Hansen had made a tremendous effort to address issues that caused the offences by seeking help.
“It is hard to imagine what more he could have done,” added Mr Brand. “He has sought help and seen it through. He is not paying lip service to it.”
Judge Michael Carroll said the bottom line was if Hansen had to be sent to prison.
He decided Hansen could go free, but warned him he had used up his mitigation and could not resort to it again.
He was sentenced to a three-year community order with supervision and attendance on a sex offender programme.
“However horrific his childhood experiences were, and I have no reason to doubt it, that mitigation is used up today,” said the judge. “It cannot be used a second time to avoid the consequences if there is a breach of these requirements.”
Hansen’s own abuse, he said, “may or may not be the explanation for downloading this filth”.
“However, by the time you downloaded it you were a mature adult,” said Judge Carroll. “The law takes a very serious view of this behaviour.”
He added he was impressed by the efforts Hansen had made since his arrest and said he would benefit from the order.
Hansen’s name will appear on the sex offenders’ register for five years.