January 2015

Former teacher avoids jail for child and bestiality images

moult

An appeal is being considered after the former head of computing at Arbroath Academy avoided jail for possession of tens of thousands of indecent images.

Roger Moult walked free from Dundee Sheriff Court on Friday after Sheriff Alastair Brown judged the 22,492 indecent images of children and images involving adults and animals were not severe enough to warrant a custodial term.

The sheriff noted that “only a tiny proportion made it beyond level one” and found that Moult, 64, of High Street, Montrose, had separated his offending from his work life and that there was nothing to suggest he had ever abused the trust placed in him as a teacher.

A Crown Office spokesman confirmed that an appeal was being considered.

He said “We note the decision of the court. The Crown will consider whether there are any grounds for lodging an appeal against this sentence, on the basis that it may be unduly lenient.”

Moult received a three-year community payback order under supervision, subject to him attending the Tay Project and placed him on the sex offenders register for three years.

The former churches group secretary admitted that between January 8 2005 and March 5 2014 he possessed indecent photographs or pseudo-photographs of children at his home address or elsewhere unknown.

He also admitted that between January 24 2012 and March 5 this year he possessed extreme pornographic images depicting adult females engaged in sexual activities with animals.

Depute fiscal Kirsten Johnson told the court police raided Moult’s rubbish-strewn home after information came to light he had made purchases through a Canadian “naturist” website.

There, they found “an extremely large amount of pornographic material, including magazines, VHS videos and DVDs in every room.

“Ultimately, due to the state of the property, a specialist search team had to be deployed and a large number of electronic equipment was seized,” she said.

Of the 22,492 indecent images of children recovered, 22,450 were at level one (erotic posing with no sexual activity), 18 were at level 2, 16 were at level 3, four at level 4 and four at level 5 (the most extreme level).

A total of 54 indecent videos of children were also recovered, 50 of them at level 1, three at level 2 and one image at level 3.

Solicitor Nick Markowski, for Moult, said his client had 39 years’ service and had retired in 2012, before the offences came to light.

“He kept separate his public life from his activities,” he said. “He is aware of the difficulties these offences have given him and he is as prepared as anyone can be for a custodial sentence.

“He apologises publicly for his offending — he knows it was wrong. It is clear from the reports that he accepts he has an illness and an addiction to pornography and accepts it is his responsibility.

“He wants to understand his problems and address them.”

Mr Markowski said Moult had been assessed as being at a low to moderate risk of reoffending and asked the sheriff to impose a non-custodial sentence.

Sheriff Brown told Moult he accepted he did not distribute any material and the overwhelming majority of the images were at a low level.

“At first sight, it is a considerable amount of images but only a tiny proportion made it beyond level one,” he said.

He added that although much of his offending had taken place while he was a teacher and he had easy access to children, he had “put boundaries in place”.

“You appear to have ring-fenced your activities and until the police attended, you had kept your offending within your own home.”

Angus Council confirmed the former department head had not worked for the local authority since March 2012.