Scout leader and Theydon Bois ‘Villager of the Year’ avoids prison for child abuse images
A former Scout Leader who downloaded images of naked girls as young as seven has received a community order after claiming he was interested in their ‘body shapes’ as fine art.
Roland Frankel, 62, received the three year order – during which he will be supervised – when he appeared at Chelmsford Crown Court on Friday (November 20).
He must also attend an internet sex offending treatment programme, sign the sex offenders’ register for five years, keep a history of his internet use, make devices available for police inspection and is banned from contacting any girl under 16-years-old online.
Frankel, of Theydon Park Road in Theydon Bois, pleaded guilty to downloading 9,000 photographs and 390 videos of girls but claimed he thought of the child pornography as an art form.
Judge Patricia Lynch QC said: “It’s all well and good saying, ‘Yes I was only looking at naked girls because I think it’s an art form.’
“Unfortunately internet pornography doesn’t stop there.
“Children are not taken off the streets, bought and sold, for the purposes of fine art.
“If you want to look at the human body as an art form, look at sculptures, look at paintings.”
Frankel’s barrister Adrienne Knights claimed his life had been turned into a “nightmare” from shame and embarrassment after his arrest two years ago.
Judge Lynch said: “I deal with a number of cases like this, of men like yourself, 60 years and over who have led impeccable lives but who have viewed pornography.
“I take into account how it’s disrupted your life but you are a lucky man, you have the support of a loving family.
“Those children don’t have loving families.
“You will get over this, they will not.”
The former Scout leader was also a Liberal Democrat councillor from 2006 until 2010 and Theydon Bois ‘Villager of the Year’ in 2014.
The two offences of making or downloading indecent photos of children happened between November 16 2003 and November 8 2013, and between January 10 2011 and November 8 2013.
All images were in the least severe category ‘C’, with the photos showing girls aged seven and older and the videos showing naked girls as young as ten.
The court heard he used online search phrases designed to find the images he wanted.
Miss Knights said: “He was looking for images of young girls on their own, not having sexual activity.”
She added: “This carried on for so long because he was blinkered into thinking what he was looking at was not illegal because there was no sexual activity and that what he was doing wasn’t wrong.”
The lawyer claimed Frankel, who has his own printing business, has raised thousands of pounds for charity and said he had “just this morning” printed Christmas leaflets for his church.
She said his life in Theydon Bois had been “hell on earth” since his arrest and added: “A neighbour has cut out a press report and stuck it in her window.
“That’s been going on for the last two years.”
At an earlier hearing, charges of attempting to incite a girl aged 13 to engage in sexual activity and of attempting to obtain sexual services from her were dropped.
The court was told that Frankel allegedly said to her “Can I touch your boobs?” and she replied no
On another occasion, he allegedly asked “Can I touch your boobs for £25?” and she again said no, with Frankel replying on both occasions “Whatever makes you comfortable.”
Dismissing the charges at the previous hearing, judge Lunch said his behaviour was “thoroughly reprehensible and appalling” but he had not committed a criminal offence according to the strict letter of the law.
Former councillor & scout leader pleads guilty to indecent images of children
A former councillor and Villager of the Year who downloaded thousands of indecent images of children will appear in court next week.
Roland Frankel, 62, who was also a Scout leader, will next be at Chelmsford Crown Court on November 20 after his trial was adjourned once again.
He may be sentenced on the day, although it is possible that this will be delayed to a later date.
Frankel, of Theydon Park Road in Theydon Bois, pleaded guilty on July 10 to two offences of making or downloading indecent photos of children between 16 November 2003 and 8 November 2013, and 10 January 2011 and 8 November 2013.
The case, relating to 18,385 photographs and 440 moving images, has been extended over a disagreement between the defence and the prosecution over the guilty plea.
A court clerk said: “Although a guilty plea has been entered, there are circumstances where the two parties, the defence and the prosecution, are not quite agreed.”
Frankel has disputed intentionally downloading images in the most serious ‘A’ and ‘B’ categories.
A hearing next Friday may consider the disagreement.
Two further charges of attempting to incite a girl aged 13 to engage in sexual activity and of attempting to obtain sexual services from her were earlier dismissed, after the judge said no criminal offence was committed.
Frankel was chosen as Theydon Bois Villager of the Year in 2014 and had represented the village as a Liberal Democrat councillor from 2006 until 2010.