June 2020

Oxford University theology professor is jailed in France after downloading 28,000 child abuse images

  • Jan Joosten, 61, downloaded 28,000 child abuse images and videos in France 

  • In 2014 he was appointed as Oxford’s prestigious Regius Professor of Hebrew 

  • Father of four was caught after a lengthy investigation by police in Strasbourg

An Oxford University professor who has held a prestigious title since 2014, has been jailed in France for downloaded 28,000 child abuse images. 

Theology professor Jan Joosten, 61, has been suspended as Regius Professor of Hebrew – a title that was founded by Henry VIII in the 16th century.

A lengthy investigation by police in Strasbourg uncovered a thousands of images downloaded by Joosten, including depictions of child rape. 

The father of four accepted the facts of the case and described his addiction as ‘a secret garden, in contradiction with myself,

Oxford university and Christ Church, the college he was affiliated with, issued this statement on Monday: ‘We can confirm that, following the conviction in France of Professor Jan Joosten for possession of images and videos of child pornography, he has been suspended by the Faculty of Oriental Studies and Christ Church pending further action.

Joosten was given a year’s prison sentence by a court in the city of Saverne, North East France, last week. The court heard he had around 27,000 images and around 1,000 videos depicting child abuse, according to Agence France-Presse. 

According to AFP he was not immediately sent to prison and his sentence will be supervised and possibly amended by an independent judge.

The court ordered a three-year programme of treatment, barred him being in contact with minors and placed him on the French sex offenders’ register. 

Joosten’s defence team argued he should not be imprisoned as this was his first offence and he had sought psychiatric help voluntarily.